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MRS.    HALE, 

AUTHORESS  OF    "  WOMAN'S    RECORD,"    "  NORTHWOOD,"    "  Y1QIL    OF    LOVE, 


"There  is  none 
In  all  this  cold  and  hollow  world,  no  fount 
Of  deep,  strong,  deathless  love,  save  that  within 
A  mother's  heart."  —  Mrs.  Hemans. 


-V       OF   THE 







Entered,  according  to  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1868,  by 


In  the  Clerk's  Office  of  the  District  Court  of  the  District  of  Massachusetts. 



The  Editress  has  set  forth  so  fully,  in  the  introductory  sketch  of 
Madame  de  Sevign^s  Life  and  Times,  her  object  in  offering  this 
book  to  the  American  public,  that  any  further  prologue  may  seem 
superfluous ;  yet  there  are  one  or  two  things  to  be  said  which  seem 
to  find  their  most  proper  expression  in  a  Preface.  Since  the  date 
of  the  first  edition,  the  changes  in  the  manners  and  feelings  of  the 
time  have  been  rapid  and  continuous ;  and  they  have  operated  in 
a  twofold  manner. 

In  the  first  place,  we  have  become  as  a  nation  more  thoroughly 
acquainted  with  French  literature,  and  better  able  to  appreciate 
that  world  of  the  past  in  which  the  great  letter-writer  lived. 
Madame  de  Sevigne*  was  a  woman  who  lived  in  and  for  others,  — 
for  her  daughter,  her  friends,  and,  at  a  greater  distance,  for  the 
brilliant  circle  of  distinguished  men  and  women  of  which  she  her- 
self was  so  important  a  figure.  Her  letters  are  made  up  of  inci- 
dent, of  meetings,  of  conversations  :  they  are  full  of  references  to 
the  topics  then  uppermost ;  they  draw  half  their  charm  from  the 
personality  of  the  writer.  Literature  of  this  sort  cannot  stand 
alone.  To  enjoy  it  to  the  full  we  must  know  with  some  minute- 
ness the  history  of  the  times  in  which  it  was  written,  and  of  the 
people  to  whom  it  was  written.  The  knowledge  of  these  things  is 
now  spreading  wider  every  year,  as  we  become  familiar,  through 
originals  or  translations,  with  the  masterpieces  of  foreign  lan- 
guages. For  instance,  probably  the  best  French  sketch  of  Madame 
de  Sevigne  is  from  the  pen  of  M.  Sainte-Beuve,  the  great  critic 
whom  Mr.  Arnold  acknowledges  for  his  master.  This  sketch  has 
been  translated  by  Miss  Preston,  and  published  within  the  last 


year.*  Our  limits  forbid  quotation ;  but  to  every  one  who  can 
enjoy  a  criticism  at  once  delicate  and  profound,  we  recommend 
this  incomparable  study. 

Again,  the  times  themselves  in  which  we  live  call  for  the  exercise 
of  just  such  an  influence  upon  the  mind  and  style  as  might  be 
wielded  by  these  letters.  We  in  America  are  almost  all  educated 
up  to  a  certain  point ;  few  of  us,  unfortunately,  are  educated  be- 
yond it.  The  national  character  is  pushing,  energetic,  ambitious  ; 
setting  great  value  upon  money  and  material  luxuries,  but  without 
appreciation  of  the  refined  enjoyments  that  consist  with  a  moder- 
ate purse,  or  the  delicacy  of  feeling  that  marks  a  sensitive  but 
well-balanced  mind.  The  vortex  of  politics  or  of  business  draws 
into  it  all  our  energies ;  we  have  nothing  to  spare  for  reflection, 
for  the  observances  of  friendship,  for  the  amenities  of  social  inter- 
course. A  life  so  vulgarizing  alike  to  the  mind  and  to  the  style, 
finds  its  best  antidote  in  the  letters  of  Madame  de  Sevigne".  Here 
is  a  beautiful  existence  centred  in  home  and  friends ;  here  are 
thoughts  occupied  by  love  for  the  dear  ones  around,  and  by  sym- 
pathy with  their  joys  and  sorrows.  The  tumult  of  the  outer  world 
is  heard  faintly.  The  writer's  mind  is  busied  in  a  calmer  sphere, 
and  the  exquisite  tenderness  of  her  heart  gives  that  transparent 
grace  to  her  style  that  has  been  the  wonder  and  the  despair  of  two 

We  are  a  letter-writing  people ;  and  no  better  models  for  let- 
ters exist  than  Madame  de  Se'vigne^s.  We  are  a  practical  and 
energetic  people ;  and  no  better  complement  to  such  virtues  can 
be  found  than  the  tender  affection  and  delicate  refinement  of 
Madame  de  SeVigne. 

Philadklphia,  Nov.  26,  1868. 

*  Sainte-Beuve's  Portraits  of  Celebrated  Women. 


An  honorable  celebrity  has  been  universally  accorded  to 
Madame  de  Sevigne.  For  nearly  two  centuries  her  "Letters" 
have  been  the  admiration  of  all  lovers  of  elegant  literature.  The 
natural  grace,  the  "  curiosa  felicitas"  of  these  epistles  have  ren- 
dered them  remarkable  as  to  style,  and  the  artist-like  pictures 
of  manners,  the  lively  accounts  of  cotemporaneous  incidents  give 
them  very  great  value  as  aids  to  the  study  of  history.  Theu 
they  are  trustworthy  documents;  every  word,  every  circum- 
stance is  read  with  particular  satisfaction,  because  the  character 
and  position  of  the  writer  assure  us  of  her  perfect  intent  to  com- 
municate truth. 

Madame  de  Sevigne  lived  in  what  the  French  consider  their 
Augustan  Age.  Great  men  in  arts,  in  arms,  in  literature  gave 
glory  to  the  most  splendid  monarch  that  ever  sat  on  the  throne 
of  France.  At  the  same  time  the  position  of  women  was  both 
active  and  brilliant.  The  social  existence  of  the  women  of  the 
higher  classes  was  one  that  gave  scope  to  talent  and  opportunity 
to  energy.  In  those  days  the  great  dame  was  occupied  with  the 
administration  of  her  property  and  the  exaltation  of  her  family. 
Far  from  being  absorbed  in  a  narrow  routine  of  personality,  she 
considered  the  sacrifice  of  private  feelings  to  family  greatness  a 
positive  duty,  and  the  sacrifice  of  family  greatness  to  the  king — - 
that  is,  the  state — a  still  more  imperative  obligation. 

As  our  views  of  moral  responsibility  extend,  the  intellectual 
horizon  enlarges.  The  woman  who  was  accustomed  to  dwell 
upon  considerations  beyond  mere  fireside  comforts  or  fashionable 
display,  who  went  from  the  individual  to  the  family,  and  from 
the  family  to  the  state,  must  of  necessity  have  enlarged  her  un- 
derstanding in  proportion  to  the  elevation  and  extent  of  her 

6  MADAME     DE     S £ V I G N 6 

views.  It  is  only  by  a  just  development  of  the  intellectual  facul- 
ties that  the  heart  can  be  properly  regulated,  and  nowhere  is 
this  truth  more  strikingly  illustrated  than  in  the  life  of  Madame 
de  Sevigne. 

Her  passionate  love  for  her  daughter  was  always  made  to  yield 
to  the  dictates  of  a  wise  prudence  and  just  propriety.  Though 
born  with  excessive  sensibility,  great  vivacity,  amiable  instincts, 
and  warm  imagination,  that  is  to  say,  with  the  qualities  and  feel- 
ings most  likely  to  lead  their  possessor  astray  or  into  indiscre- 
tions, yet  this  youthful  widow  managed  her  estate  and  her 
children  with  admirable  wisdom,  and  so  regulated  her  own  con- 
duct as  to  be  above  the  slightest  censure  in  a  court  of  relaxed 
morals  and  of  many  temptations.  This  was  accomplished  because 
her  brilliant  qualities  rested  on  the  solid  basis  of  serious  and 
valuable  acquirements,  a  practical  knowledge  of  business,  and  a 
trusting  and  sincere  piety. 

To  make  the  example  of  this  excellent  woman  more  widely 
and  familiarly  known  in  America  is  the  main  object  of  this  vol- 
ume. As  a  model  in  private  life,  her  conduct  and  character 
deserve  to  be  studied.  Her  u  Letters"  are  referred  to  by  the  best 
authorities,  as  the  most  charming  specimens  of  epistolary  art 
extant,  yet  no  edition  has  ever  been  issued  in  this  country.  Nor 
would  one  be  profitable,  because  the  complete  work  is  too  large 
Still  it  is  desirable  to  have  access  to  this  treasury  of  beautiful 
sentiments  and  entertaining  sketches ;  and  we  have  here  selected 
such  portions  of  her  correspondence  as  will  make  her  virtues 
known  and  give  those  lessons  of  practical  goodness  her  life  so 
happily  illustrated. 

In  order  to  do  this  we  have  arranged  the  correspondence  on  a 
new  plan.  Hitherto  the  "Letters"  have  been  thrown  together 
according  to  date,  and  the  reader  was  compelled  to  change  from 
one  correspondent  to  another,  even  on  the  same  page,  often  find- 
ing similar  details  in  several  consecutive  epistles.  In  this  volume 
each  person  addressed  has  his  or  her  own  department — thus  the 
Letters  to  Madame  de  Grignan,  the  soul  of  the  correspondence, 
form  one  unbroken  series.  Much  care  has  been  taken  to  keep 
the  fine  and  often  sparkling  threads  of  narrative  inwoven  in  the 
Letters  continuous,  and  errors  in  the  only  English  translation 
we  have  seen  (published  in  London,  in  1811)  have  been  cor- 
rected by  comparing  it  with  the  best  French  editions  of  the 

AND    HER    TIMES.  7 

"Letters."*  And  now  we  will  endeavor  to  sketch  the  life  of 
this  lovely  and  lovable  woman,  though  the  events  are  in  no 
wise  remarkable,  and  the  truest  portrait  of  her  character  and 
genius  must  be  sought  in  her  letters. 


was  born  February  5th,  1627,  in  the  ancestral  chateau  of  Bour- 
billy,  between  Samur  and  Epoisses.  Her  father  was  Celse-Be- 
nigne  de  Rabutin,  Baron  of  Ohantal ;  her  mother,  Marie  de  Cou- 
langes,  was  daughter  of  a  Secretary  of  State,  and  belonged  to  a 
family  celebrated  for  wit,  and,  generally,  remarkable  for  integ- 
rity. The  baron  was  slain  during  the  siege  of  Rochelle,  fighting 
against  the  English  in  their  descent  on  the  island  of  Rhe;  and  it 
was  thought  he  was  killed  by  the  hand  of  Cromwell.  The  little 
Marie  was  then  but  eighteen  months  old,  and  soon  afterward 
was,  by  the  death  of  her  mother,  left  an  orphan  indeed.  The 
Baroness  de  Ohantal,  her  grandmother,  seemed  the  person  nat- 
urally destined  to  have  the  guardianship  of  the  child,  but  that 
lady  was  occupied  in  religious  duties  (she  was  afterward  a  can- 
onized saint,  and  known  as  the  u  Blessed  Mother  of  Ohantal," 
and  seems  to  have  deserved  the  distinction,  according  to  the 
feeling  of  those  days,  as  she  founded  eighty-seven  religious 
houses),  and,  therefore,  permitted  her  granddaughter  to  pass 
into  the  hands  of  her  mother's  relations.  She  was  first  taken  by 
her  grandfather,  M.  de  Coulanges ;  when  he  died,  shortly  after- 
ward, the  orphan,  then  about  nine  years  of  age,  passed  into  the 
family  of  her  uncle,  Christophe  de  Coulanges,  Abbe  de  Livry. 
This  was  a  fortunate  event  for  the  young  girl.  She  was  brought 
up  and  educated  with  her  cousin,  Philippe  Emanuel  de  Cou- 
langes, enjoying  the  advantages  of  the  most  intellectual  society 
of  the  age;  her  learned  uncle  was  her  companion,  and  encour- 
aged her  to  cultivate  her  talents.  This  last  advantage  can  hardly 
be  estimated  now,  when  feminine  education  is  common  and  popu- 
lar; but  then  the  instruction  of  young  ladies  was  usually  limited 
to  the  accomplishments  of  reading,  writing,  dancing,  and  em- 
broidery.     Marie   de  Rabutin    had   the  entree   to   her   uncle's 

*  The  explanatory  notes,  which  afford  useful  particulars  concerning 
personages  and  events  mentioned  in  the  Letters,  are  partly  from  the 
French,  and  partly  by  the  English  translator  and  the  present  Editor. 


library  and  his  encouragement,  if  not  personal  instruction,  in  her 
literary  pursuits.  She  was  taught  Latin,  Italian,  and  Spanish ; 
her  instructors  were  Menage  and  Ohapelain,  and  other  professors 
of  polite  literature.  The  result  is  before  the  world — that  the 
woman's  mind  is  as  susceptible  of  cultivation  as  that  of  the 
man's,  and  that  she  is  made  happier,  better,  more  lovely,  and 
more  capable  of  doing  good  by  a  liberal  and  careful  cultivation 
of  her  intellectual  powers. 

In  person  and  manners  Mademoiselle  de  Rabutin  is  represented 
as  very  attractive,  if  not  positively  beautiful.  M.  Ph.  A  Grou- 
ville,  her  French  biographer,  thus  describes  her: 

"  An  exact  portrait  of  her  person  would  savor  of  romance, 
and  would  be  out  of  place;  we  may,  however,  represent  the 
young  Rabutin  to  our  imagination  as  a  truly  handsome  woman^ 
with  more  character  of  countenance  than  beauty ;  with  features 
more  expressive  than  commanding;  an  easy  figure,  a  stature 
rather  tall  than  short,  a  redundancy  of  fine  light  hair,  excellent 
health,  a  fine  color,  a  brilliant  complexion,  eyes,  the  vivacity  of 
which  gave  additional  animation  to  her  language  and  agility  to 
her  movements,  a  pleasing  voice,  as  much  knowledge  of  music 
as  existed  in  those  days,  and  of  dancing,  in  which  she  excelled 
for  the  times.  This  is  the  idea  that  her  portraits,  her  friends,  or 
herself  give  of  her.  And  certainly  her  nose,  tending  a  little 
toward  the  square,  which  she  herself  ridicules,  could  not  spoil 
her  whole  appearance  as  much  as  the  age  of  eighteen  embellished 
it,  when,  in  1644,  she  married  Henry,  Marquis  de  Sevigne,  of  an 
ancient  family  of  Brittany.  To  this  appendage  of  merit  and 
charms  she  added  a  dower  of  a  hundred  thousand  crowns,  which, 
at  that  period,  were  not  of  less  value  than  seven  hundred  thou- 
sand francs." 

The  Marquis  de  Sevigne  was  also  rich,  moreover  he  was  young, 
handsome,  and  gay.  Her  good  uncle  doubtless  believed  he  had 
secured  the  happiness  of  his  niece  by  this  connection;  but  the 
sequel  proved  otherwise.  The  marquis  soon  showed  himself  to 
be  weak,  vain,  extravagant,  and,  finally,  a  profligate.  Though 
he  always  admitted  the  charms  and  merits  of  his  wife,  yet,  after 
a  year  or  two,  he  began  to  neglect  her  for  unworthy  associates. 
The  siren  of  that  age,  Ninon  de  l'Enclos,  drew  him  to  her  side, 
and  for  that  wanton  the  happiness  of  his  hone  was  sacrificed. 

Bussy  de  Rabutin,  cousin  of  Madame  de  Sevigne's  father,  an 

AND     HER    TIMES  9 

unprincipled  man,  but  distinguished  for  wit  and  talent,  had 
always  admired  and  loved,  or  pretended  to  be  in  love  with  his 
fascinating  cousin,  and  she  had  always  laughed  at  his  flattery 
and  rejected  his  suit.  He  took  advantage  of  her  husband's  infi- 
delity to  offer  an  insulting  proposal,  that  she  should  take  her  re- 
venge. He  was  reproved  in  such  terms  of  cold  and  calm 
severity  as  put  a  final  repulse  to  his  gallantry  toward  her. 
Though  their  intercourse  continued  friendly  through  life,  yet, 
judging  from  the  tone  of  her  letters  to  him,  always  constrained, 
and  confined  chiefly- to  his  own  affairs,  we  feel  that,  though  she 
acknowledged  their  relationship,  she  never  esteemed  the  man. 

Her  husband  was  killed  in  a  duel,  about  seven  years  after  mar- 
riage, and  Madame  de  Sevigne,  at  the  age  of  twenty -five,  was 
left  a  widow,  with  two  children,  the  eldest,  her  son,  the  young- 
est, that  idolized  daughter,  who  made  the  light  of  her  mother's 

In  spite  of  the  faults  and  vices  of  the  Marquis  de  Sevigne,  his 
sudden  and  shocking  death  greatly  afflicted  his  wife.  She  was, 
for  a  time,  nearly  overwhelmed  with  sorrow,  but  soon  found  de- 
volving upon  her  the  hard  and  painful  duty  of  endeavoring  to 
extricate  her  estate  from  utter  ruin.  The  follies  and  waste  of 
her  husband  came  near  making  her  and  the  children  penniless. 
She  retired  to  the  country,  and,  aided  by  the  counsel  and  en- 
couragement of  her  uncle  the  abbe,  entered  on  her  new  duties. 
"We  quote  from  one  of  her  French  biographers,  who  seems  to 
have  searched  out  her  history  with  great  care : 

"  Madame  de  Sevigne's  good  sense,  natural  rectitude,  and  laud- 
able pride,  gave  her  a  taste  for  economy,  and  the  advice  of  her 
uncle  taught  her  to  understand  it.  Her  mind,  notwithstanding 
\he  habit  of  sacrificing  to  the  Graces,  had  no  repugnance  to 
business.  She  well  knew  how  to  sell  or  let  estates,  receive  her 
rents,  direct  her  workmen,  etc.  She  did  not  trust  to  her  beauty 
alone  for  gaining  law-suits.  Menage  relates,  that  one  day,  rec- 
ommending an  affair  with  great  ease  and  simplicity  to  the 
President  de  Bellievre,  she  felt  herself  at  last  a  little  embarrassed 
with  the  terms  to  be  used,  when  she  said,  '  At  least,  sir,  I  know 
the  air  perfectly,  but  I  forget  the  words.' 

u  With  regard  to  education,  not  only  do  the  merit  of  her  son 
and  daughter,  as  well  as  their  virtues,  show  the  extent  of  her 
capacity  in  this  respect,  but  it  would  be  easy  to  extract  from  her 

10  MADAME    DE    S  E  V  I  G  N  £ 

letters  a  series  of  maxims  upon  the  subject,  by  which  it  would 
be  seen  that,  far  from  adhering  to  the  false  methods  in  vogue  in 
her  days,  she  had  foretold  many  of  the  improvements  of  which 
we  are  justly  vain  in  ours.,, 

Though  she  devoted  herself  seduously  to  the  duties  of  her 
family,  yet  Madame  de  Sevigne  did  not  long  live  a  recluse.  She 
saved  her  property,  returned  to  society,  and  passed  much  of  her 
time  in  Paris,  where  she  was  the  idol  of  her  circle,  people  of  the 
first  rank  in  letters  and  worth  of  character,  as  well  as  stars  in 
the  fashionable  world.  She  was  also  a  frequent  visitor  at  court, 
where  the  king,  Louis  XIY,  always  received  her  with  respect. 

Madame  de  Sevigne  had  many  adorers,  among  whom  were  the 
Seigneur  Turenne  and  the  Prince  de  Oonti,  and  her  friends  were 
most  devoted — Fouquet  was  one  of  them,  and  she  was  true  to 
him  in  his  great  misfortune,  as  her  letters  show.  But  she  ap- 
pears never  to  have  had  the  least  intention  of  a  second  marriage; 
to  promote  the  happiness  of  her  children  and  the  enjoyment  of 
her  friends,  was  the  object  of  her  life.  Her  son,  the  Marquis 
de  Sevigne,  who  entered  the  army,  was  very  frivolous,  weak, 
and  dissipated  in  his  youth;  his  mother's  watchful  care  and  pa- 
tient forbearance  saved  him  from  utter  degradation.  About 
middle  age  he  married  an  amiable  wife  of  noble  family,  left  the 
army,  and  cultivated  a  taste  for  literature.  To  effect  this  mar- 
riage, and  thus  secure  the  reformation  of  her  son,  Madame  de 
Sevigne  gave  up  to  him  so  large  a  portion  of  her  estate  that 
she  was  afterward  in  comparatively  straitened  circumstances. 

But  the  daughter,  Margaret  Frances,  was  her  mother's  glory, 
the  idol  that  seemed  to  claim  the  worship  of  the  mother's  soul. 
Passion  rather  than  affection  possessed  Madame  de  Sevigne  when 
writing  to  or  of  her  "  infinitely  dear  child."  That  the  daughter 
did  not  reciprocate  this  love  in  its  full  flow  has  been  urged  to 
prove  that  Mudame  de  Grignan  was  cold  in  temperament  or  self- 
ish in  feeling.  We  do  not  find  evidences  to  support  this  charge. 
The  mother,  ambitious  for  her  daughter,  and  wishing  to  keep 
her  in  Paris  had  married  her  to  the  Count  de  Grignan,  who  was 
•  rich,  and  of  the  high  nobility,  and  had  a  place  at  court.  But  he 
was  also  Lieutenant-Governor  of  Provence,  and  ordered,  soon 
after  his  marriage,  to  his  government.  His  wife  had  to  follow 
him ;  she  seems  to  have  loved  and  respected  her  husband,  as  wras 
her  duty     She  had  children ;  she  was  at  the  head  of  a  great  es- 

AND    HER    TIMES.  11 

tablishment,  and  she  could  not  give  the  whole  of  her  heart, 
thoughts,  and  time  to  her  mother,  as  the  latter  did  to  hei 

The  separation  was  a  terrible  privation  to  Madame  de  Sevigne, 
but  it  was  the  cause  of  her  moral  and  literary  improvement,  as 
well  as  of  the  series  of  "Letters  to  Madame  de  Grignan,"  which, 
of  their  kind,  are  unequaled  in  any  language.  The  mother's 
genius  lives  in  this  correspondence ;  her  pen  gives  importance  to 
the  most  trifling  occurrences,  and  makes  hard  facts  as  interesting 
as  fairy  stories. 

Among  other  advantages  of  life,  Madame  de  Sevigne  retained 
her  good  looks,  as  she  did  her  cheerful  disposition,  to  the  last; 
hence  the  name  of  Mere  Beaute  (Mother  Beauty)  given  her  by  M. 
de  Coulanges.  Her  constitution  was  good,  and  she  managed  it  with 
great  judgment.  In  thirty  years  the  only  disorder  she  had  known 
was  rheumatism.  Happy  all  her  life  by  the  exercise  of  natural 
affections,  Madame  de  Sevigne  thought  less  of  the  ravages  of 
time ;  and  when  death  terminated  her  existence  in  1696,  her  ill- 
ness, the  result  of  the  fatigue  and  uneasiness  she  had  endured  for 
some  months  on  her  daughter's  account,  took  her  by  surprise, 
and  was  announced  by  no  symptom.  It  was  short.  In  her  last 
moments  she  was  resigned,  and  perfectly  calm.  Thus  died  Mad- 
ame de  Sevigne,  aged  about  seventy  years,  and  was  interred 
in  the  Collegiate  Church  of  Grignan,  leaving  to  posterity  in  the 
record  of  her  blameless  life,  as  in  her  exquisite  writings,  the 
brightest  and  purest  model  which  her  age  affords. 

S.  J.  H. 


FROM    1655    TO   1669. 


» t  ♦  «  . 


In  the  Country,  June  26,  1655. 

I  had  no  doubt  that  you  would  take  some  opportunity  of 
bidding  me  adieu,  either  at  my  own  house  or  from  the  camp 
at  Landrecy.  As  I  am  not  a  woman  of  ceremony,  I  am  con- 
tent with  the  latter ;  and  have  not  even  thought  of  being 
angry,  that  you  failed  in  coming  to  me  before  you  set  out. 

I  have  not  stirred  from  this  desert,  since  your  departure ; 
and,  to  speak  frankly,  I  am  not  much  afflicted  to  find  that  you 
are  with  the  army.     I  should  be  an  unworthy  cousin  of  so 

*  The  Count  Bussy  de  Rabutin,  first  cousin  to  the  father  of  Madame 
de  Sevigne,  was,  on  account  of  his  relationship,  always  on  terms  of 
intimacy  with  her.  He  was  a  famous  wit  and  satirist,  as  his  Letters 
and  Memoirs  show,  but  not  of  principles  or  character  to  excite  love  or 
esteem  in  the  soul  of  such  a  woman  as  Madame  de  Sevigne.  How- 
ever, they  were  cousins,  and  though  she  refused  his  suit,  she  seems  to 
have  felt  a  deep  interest  in  his  welfare.  She  corresponded  with  him 
occasionally  till  her  death,  but  her  letters  to  him  have  less  interest 
than  those  she  wrote  to  others,  especially  to  her  daughter.  We  give  a 
few  of  her  first  and  best  letters  to  Count  de  Bussy,  as  preliminary  to 
the  real  work  of  her  heart  and  mind,  her  correspondence  with  Madame 
de  Grignan, 

20  LETTERS    TO 

brave  a  cousin,  if  I  were  sorry  to  see  you,  during  the  present 
campaign,  at  the  head  of  the  finest  regiment  in  France,  and  in 
so  glorious  a  post  as  the  one  you  hold.  I  dare  say  you  would 
disown  any  sentiments  less  worthy  than  these ;  I  leave  weaker 
and  more  tender  feelings  to  the  true  bagnio  gentry.  Every 
one  loves  in  his  own  way.  I  profess  to  be  heroic  as  well  as 
you,  and  am  proud  to  boast  of  these  sentiments.  Some 
women,  perhaps,  would  think  this  a  little  in  the  old  Roman 
style,  and  would  thank  God  they  were  not  JRomans*  that  they 
might  still  preserve  some  feelings  of  humanity.  But  on  this 
subject  I  can  assure  them  I  am  not  so  inhuman  as  they  sup- 
pose ;  and,  with  all  my  heroism,  I  wish  your  safe  return  as 
passionately  as  they  can  do.  I  trust,  my  dear  cousin,  you 
will  not  doubt  the  truth  of  this,  nor  that  I  fervently  pray  your 
life  may  be  spared.  This  is  the  adieu  you  would  have  re- 
ceived from  me  in  person,  and  which  I  now  beg  you  to  ac- 
cept from  hence,  as  I  have  accepted  yours  from  Landrecy. 


Paris,  July  14,  1655. 
Will  you  always  disgrace  your  relations  ?  Will  you  never 
be  weary  of  making  yourself  the  subject  of  conversation  in 
every  campaign  ?  Do  you  imagine  it  can  give  us  pleasure  to 
hear  that  M.  de  Turenne  has  sent  word  to  court  that  you 
have  done  nothing  worthy  of  notice  at  Landrecy  ?f  This  is 
really  very  mortifying  to  us,  and  you  may  easily  comprehend 
how  deeply  I  feel  the  affronts  you  bring  upon  your  family. 
But  I  know  not  why  I  thus  amuse  myself,  for  I  have  no 
leisure  to  carry  on  the  jest.  I  must  tell  you,  therefore,  that  I 
am  delighted  with  the  success  which  has  attended  your  ex- 
ploits.    I  wrote  you  a  long  letter  from  the  country,  which  J 

*  Yerse  from  Corneille's  tragedy  of  the  Horatii. 
f  Mere  jesting.    Bussy  had   merited  and  obtained  the  praises  of 

THE     COUNT    DE    BUSSY.    .  21 

fear  you  have  not  received.  I  should  be  sorry  it  were  lost,  for 
you  would  laugh  heartily  at  its  contents. 

I  was  yesterday  at  Madame  de  Montglas's ;  she  had  just  re- 
ceived a  letter  from  you,  as  also  had  Madame  de  .     I 

expected  one  likewise,  but  was  disappointed.  I  suppose  you 
were  unwilling  to  effect  too  many  wonders  at  once.  I  am 
not  sorry,  however,  and  shall  some  day  claim  a  whole  cargo 
for  myself.  Adieu,  my  cousin.  The  gazette  speaks  of  you 
but  slightly,  which  has  given  offense  to  many,  and  to  me 
especially,  for  no  one  can  be  so  much  interested  in  your  af- 
fairs as  myself. 


Paris,  July  19,  1655. 
This  is  the  third  time  I  have  written  to  you  since  you  left 
Paris,  a  sufficient  proof  that  I  have  nothing  upon  my  mind 
against  you.  I  received  your  farewell  letter  from  Landrecy 
while  I  was  in  the  country,  and  answered  it  immediately.  I 
see  plainly  that  my  letter  has  never  reached  you,  and  I  am 
extremely  vexed  at  it ;  for,  besides  its  being  written  with  be- 
coming affection,  it  was  in  my  opinion  a  very  pretty  compo- 
sition ;  and  as  it  was  designed  for  you  only,  I  am  wroth  that 
another  should  have  the  pleasure  of  reading  it.  I  have  since 
written  to  you  by  the  servant  you  dispatched  hither  with  let- 
ters to  some  of  your  favorites.  I  did  not  amuse  myself  by 
quarreling  with  you  for  not  remembering  me  at  the  same 
time,  but  wrote  you  a  line  or  two  at  full  speed,  which,  how- 
ever incoherent,  would  inform  you  of  the  pleasure  I  received 
from  the  success  of  your  regiment  at  Landrecy.  This  intelli- 
gence came  to  us  in  the  most  acceptable  manner  possible,  by 
some  of  the  court,  who  assured  us  that  Cardinal  Mazarin  had 
spoken  very  handsomely  of  you  to  the  king,  who  afterward 
joined  with  the  whole  court  in  extolling  your  conduct.  You 
may  conceive  that  my  joy  was  not  inconsiderable  at  hearing 

22  LETTERS    TO 

all  this ;  but  to  return  to  my  story.  This  was  the  subject  of 
my  second  letter,  and  five  or  six  days  after  I  received  one 
from  you,  full  of  complaints  against  me.  You  see,  however, 
my  poor  cousin,  with  how  little  justice  you  complain ;  and 
hence  I  draw  this  fine  moral  reflection,  that  we  should  never 
condemn  a  person  unheard.  This  is  my  justification.  An- 
other, perhaps,  would  have  expressed  the  same  thing  in  fewer 
words.  You  must  bear  with  my  imperfections,  in  considera- 
tion of  my  friendship.  Every  one  has  his  peculiar  style ; 
mine,  as  you  see,  is  by  no  means  laconic. 


Paris,  November  25,  1655. 

You  affect  great  things,  M.  le  Comte  :  under  the  pretense 
that  you  write  like  a  second  Cicero,  you  think  yourself  en- 
titled to  ridicule  people.  The  passage  you  remarked,  in  real- 
ity, made  me  laugh  heartily ;  but  I  am  astonished  that  you 
found  no  other  equally  ludicrous  ;  for,  in  the  way  I  wrote  to 
you,  it  is  a  miracle  that  you  comprehended  my  meaning ; 
and  I  see  plainly  that  either  you  have  a  greater  share  of  wit, 
or  that  my  letter  is  better,  than  I  imagined.  I  am  glad,  how- 
ever, you  have  profited  by  my  advice. 

I  am  told  that  you  have  asked  leave  to  stay  at  the  frontiers. 
As  you  know,  my  poor  count,  that  mine  is  a  blunt  and  hon- 
est sort  of  love,  I  am  desirous  your  request  may  be  granted. 
This  is  the  road,  it  is  said,  to  preferment,  and  you  know  how 
interested  I  am  in  your  welfare  ;  but  I  shall  be  pleased  either 
way.  If  you  remain,  true  friendship  shall  find  its  account ; 
if  you  return,  affectionate  friendship  shall  be  satisfied. 

Madame  de  Roquelaure  is  returned  so  handsome  that  she 
yesterday  completely  challenged  the  Louvre ;  this  kindled 
such  jealousy  in  the  beauties  that  were  present,  that  they 
have  resolved,  out  of  spite,  she  shall  not  be  a  party  at  any  of 
the  after-suppers,  and  you  know  how  gay  and  pleasant  they 

THE     COUNT    DE     BUSSY.  23 

are.  Madame  de  Fiemies  would  have  retained  her  there  yes- 
terday, but  it  was  understood  by  the  queen's  answer  that  her 
presence  would  be  dispensed  with. 

Adieu,  my  dear  cousin  ;  believe  me  to  be  the  most  faithful 
friend  you  have  in  the  world. 


Paris,  May  20,  1667. 
I  received  a  letter  from  you,  my  dear  cousin,  when  I  was 
in  Brittany,  in  which  you  talked  of  our  ancestors,  the  Rabu- 
tins,  and  of  the  beauty  of  Bourbilly.  But  as  I  had  heard  from 
Paris  that  you  were  expected  there,  and  as  I  had  hoped  my- 
self to  arrive  much  sooner,  I  deferred  writing  to  you ;  and 
now  I  find  you  are  not  coming  at  all.  You  know  that  noth- 
ing is  now  talked  of  but  war.  The  whole  court  is  at  camp, 
and  the  whole  camp  is  at  court ;  and  every  place  being  a 
desert,  I  prefer  the  desert  of  Livri  forest,  where  I  shall  pass 
the  summer, 

En  attendant  que  nos  guerriers 
Reviennent  couverts  de  lauriers.* 

There  are  two  lines  for  you,  but  I  do  not  know  whether  I 
have  heard  them  before,  or  have  just  made  them.  As  it  is  a 
matter  of  no  great  importance,  I  shall  resume  the  thread  of 
my  prose.  My  heart  has  been  very  favorably  inclined  toward 
you,  since  I  have  seen  so  many  people  eager  to  begin,  or 
rather  to  revive,  a  business  in  which  you  acquired  so  much 
honor  during  the  time  you  were  able  to  engage  in  it.  It  is 
a  sad  thing  for  a  man  of  courage  to  be  confined  at  home 
when  there  are  such  great  doings  in  Flanders.f  As  you  feel, 
no  doubt,  all  that  a  man  of  spirit  and  valor  can  feel,  it  is  im- 
prudent in  me  to  revive  so  painful  a  subject.     I  hope  you 

*  Waiting  the  jeturn  of  our  warriors  covered  with  laurels. 
f  Busay  was  exiled  to  his  estates. 


24  LETTERS     TO 

will  forgive  me,  in  consideration  of  the  great  interest  I  .ake 
in  your  affairs. 

It  is  said  you  have  written  to  the  king.  Send  me  a  copy 
of  your  letter,  and  give  me  a  little  information  respecting 
your  mode  of  life,  what  sort  of  things  amuse  you,  and  whether 
the  alterations  you  are  making  in  your  house  do  not  contrib- 
ute a  good  deal  toward  it.  I  have  spent  the  winter  in  Brit- 
tany, where  I  have  planted  a  great  number  of  trees,  and  a 
labyrinth,  that  will  require  Ariadne's  clew  to  find  the  way  out 
of  it.  I  have  also  purchased  some  land,  to  which  I  have  said, 
as  usual,  "  I  shall  convert  you  into  a  park."  I  have  ex- 
tended my  walks  at  a  trifling  expense.  My  daughter  sends 
you  a  thousand  remembrances.  I  beg  mine  to  all  your 


Paris,  June  3,  1668. 

I  wrote  to  you  the  last ;  why  have  you  not  answered  my 
letter  ?  I  have  been  expecting  to  hear  from  you,  and  have 
at  length  found  the  Italian  proverb  true  :  chi  offende  non  per- 
dona — the  offender  never  pardons. 

Madame  d'Assigny  has  informed  me  that  part  of  a  cornice 
has  fallen  upon  your  head,  and  hurt  you  considerably.  If 
you  were  well,  and  I  dared  exercise  a  little  wicked  wit  upon 
the  occasion,  I  should  tell  you  that  they  are  not  trifling  orna- 
ments like  these  that  injure  the  heads  of  husbands  in  general ; 
and  that  it  would  be  a  fortunate  circumstance  for  them  if  they 
met  with  no  worse  evil  than  the  fall  of  a  cornice.  But  I  will 
not  talk  nonsense  ;  I  will  first  know  how  you  are,  and  assure 
you  that  the  same  reason  which  made  me  languid  when  you 
were  bled,  gives  me  the  headache  from  your  accident.  The 
ties  of  relationship  can  not,  I  think,  be  carried  further  than 

My  daughter  was  on  the  point  of  marriage.  The  affair  is 
broken  off,  I  hardly  know  why.     She  kisses  your  hand  ;  I  do 

THE     COUNT    DE     BUSST.  25 

the  same  to  your  whole  family.  Have  you  done  any  thing 
yet  with  regard  to  the  court  ?  Pray  let  me  know  how  you 
stand  there. 


Paris,  July  26,  1668. 

I  begin  by  thanking  you,  my  dear  cousin,  for  your  letters 
to  the  king.  They  would  afford  me  pleasure  even  .if  they 
were  written  by  a  stranger.  They  have  awakened  in  me  sen- 
timents of  pity,  and  I  should  think  they  must  produce  the 
same  effect  on  our  sovereign.  It  is  true,  he  does  not  bear 
the  name  of  Rabutin,  as  I  do. 

The  prettiest  girl  in  France  sends  her  compliments  to  you. 
This  title  is  due  to  her ;  I  am,  however,  weary  of  doing  the 
honors  of  it.  She  is  more  worthy  than  ever  of  your  esteem 
and  friendship. 

You  do  not  know,  I  believe,  that  my  son  is  gone  to  Candia 
with  M.  de  Roannes,  and  the  Count  de  Saint  Paul.  He  con- 
sulted M.  de  Turenne,  Cardinal  du  Retz,  and  M.  de  Rochefou- 
cauld upon  this  :  most  important  personages !  and  they  all 
approved  it  so  highly  that  it  was  fixed  upon,  and  rumored 
abroad,  before  I  knew  any  thing  of  the  matter.  In  short,  he 
is  gone.  I  have  wept  bitterly,  for  it  is  a  source  of  great 
grief  to  me.  I  shall  not  have  a  moment's  rest  during  his 
voyage.  I  see  all  its  dangers,  and  terrify  myself  to  death  ; 
but  alas,  I  am  wholly  out  of  the  question ;  for,  in  things  of 
this  nature,  mothers  have  no  voice.     Adieu. 


Paris,  September  4,  1668. 
Rise,  count ;  I  will  not  kill  you  while  prostrate  at  my  feet, 
and  take  your  sword  to  resume  the  combat.     But  it  is  better 
that  I  should  give  you  life,  and  that  we  should  live  in  peace.* 

*  Bussj  and  his  cousin  had  frequent  quarrels :  the  reason  has  before 


26  LETTERS    TO 

I  exact  but  one  condition  :  that  you  own  the  thing  as  it  has 
happened.  This  is  a  very  generous  proceeding  on  my  part ; 
you  can  no  longer  call  me  a  little  brute. 

M.  de  Montausier  has  just  been  appointed  governor  to  the 

Je  t'ai  comble  de  biens,  je  t'en  veux  accabler.* 

Adieu,  count.  Now  I  have  conquered  you,  I  shall  every 
where  proclaim  that  you  are  the  bravest  man  in  France ;  and 
whenever  extraordinary  duels  are  mentioned,  I  shall  relate 
ours.  My  daughter  sends  her  compliments.  The  idea  you 
express  of  her  good  fortune  in  the  late  affair  is  some  consola- 
tion to  us. 


Paris,  December  4,  1668. 

Have  you  not  received  the  letter,  sir,  in  which  I  gave  you 
life,  disdaining  to  kill  you  at  my  feet  ?  I  expected  an  answer 
to  this  noble  action  ;  but  you  have  thought  it  unworthy  your 
notice:  you  have  contented  yourself  with  rising  from  the 
ground,  and  taking  your  sword  as  I  commanded  you.  I  hope 
you  will  never  again  employ  it  against  me. 

I  must  tell  you  a  piece  of  news  that  will,  I  am  sure,  give 
you  pleasure.  It  is,  that  the  prettiest  girl  in  France  is  going 
to  be  married,  not  to  the  handsomest  youth,  but  to  one  of  the 
worthiest  men  in  the  kingdom — to  M.  de  Grignan,  whom  you 
have  long  known.  All  his  wives  died  to  give  place  to  your 
cousin ;  and,  through  extraordinary  kindness,  even  his  father 
and  mother  died  too ;  so  that  knowing  him  to  be  richer  than 
ever,  and  finding  him  besides,  by  birth,  situation,  and  good 
qualities,  every  thing  we  could  wish,  we  have  not  trafficked 
with  him,  as  is  customary,  on  the  occasion,  but  confided  in 
the  two  families  that  have  gone  before  us.  He  seems  very 
well  pleased  with  the  alliance,  and,  as  soon  as  we  have  heard 

been  given.     The  new  difference  to  which  she  alludes  seems  Lo  have 
been  a  slight  one. 

*  I  have  loaded  thee  with  favors,  I  will  add  to  the  burden. 

THE     COUNT    DK    BU88Y.  27 

from  his  uncle,  the  Archbishop  of  Aries,  his  other  uncle,  the 
Archbishop  of  Usez,  being  on  the  spot,  the  business  will  be 
finished — probably  before  the  end  of  the  year.  As  I  am  a 
lover  of  decorum,  I  could  not  fail  asking  your  advice  and  ap- 
probation. The  public  seem  pleased.  This  is  a  great  deal, 
for  we  are  such  fools  as  to  be  almost  always  governed  by  its 


Paris,  January  7,  1669. 

It  is  as  true  that  I  did  not  receive  an  answer  to  the  letter 
in  which  I  gave  you  life,  as  that  I  was  in  pain,  lest,  with  the 
best  intention  possible  to  pardon  you,  I  had  unintentionally 
killed  you,  being  little  accustomed  to  wield  a  sword.  This 
was  the  only  good  reason  I  could  assign  to  myself  for  your 
silence.  In  the  mean  time  you  had  written,  though  your  let- 
ter had  never  reached  me.  Allow  me  still  to  regret  the  cir- 
cumstance. You  always  write  pleasantly ;  and  if  I  had  wished 
to  lose  any  portion  of  your  correspondence,  it  would  not  have 
been  that  letter.  I  am  glad  you  approve  of  the  marriage  wTith 
M.  de  Grignan ;  he  is  a  very  good  man,  and  very  gentlemanly — 
has  wealth,  rank,  holds  a  high  office,  and  is  much  esteemed 
and  respected  by  the  world.  What  more  is  necessary  ?  I 
think  we  are  fortunate,  and  as  you  are  of  the  same  opinion, 
sign  the  deed  I  sent  you ;  and  be  assured,  my  dear  cousin,  that 
if  it  depended  on  me,  you  should  be  first  at  the  entertainment. 
How  admirably  well  you  would  act  your  part!  Since  you 
left  us,  I  have  heard  no  wit  equal  to  yours,  and  I  have  said  to 
myself  a  thousand  times,  "  Good  heavens,  what  a  difference  Hf 
War*  is  talked  of,  and  it  is  said  the  king  will  take  the  field  in 

*  It  was  a  vague  report  No  idea  was  yet  entertained  of  breaking 
the  peace  of  Aix-la-Chapelle,  concluded  only  seven  months  before. 
But  it  was  in  contemplation  to  interfere  in  the  quarrel  between  the 
Count  Palatin  and  the  Duke  of  Lorraine,  and  force  the  latter  to  lay 
down  his  arms. 


FROM   1671  TO   1690. 


Paris,  Monday,  February  9,  1671. 
I  receive  your  letters  in  the  same  way  in  which  you  re- 
ceived my  ring.  I  am  in  tears  while  I  read  them.  My  heart 
seems  ready  to  burst.  Bystanders  would  think  that  you  had 
treated  me  ill  in  your  letters,  or  were  sick,  or  that  some  ac- 
cident had  happened  to  you ;  whereas  every  thing  is  the  re- 
verse. You  love  me,  my  dear  child  ;  you  love  me,  and  you 
tell  me  so  in  a  manner  that  makes  my  tears  flow  in  torrents. 
You  continue  your  journey  without  any  disagreeable  accident.f 

*  Margaret  de  Sevigne,  only  daughter  of  Madame  de  Sevigne,  was 
born  in  1649,  a  short  time  before  her  father  was  killed.  The  educa- 
tion and  happiness  of  this  "  lovely  and  infinitely  dear  child,"  was  the 
occupation,  delight,  and  anxiety  of  the  mother's  long  life.  For  her, 
Madame  de  Sevigne  thought,  read,  observed,  and  wrote.  The  follow- 
ing letters  are  not  only  charming  as  specimens  of  epistolary  style,  but 
also  full  of  interest  and  instruction  to  those  who  would  study  the  hu- 
man mind  in  its  most  sacred  development  of  maternal  love. 

f  In  January,  1670,  this  idolized  daughter  of  Madame  de  Sevigne  was 
married  to  the  Count  de  Grignan,  who  was  Lieutenant-Qeneral  of  the 
Government  of  Provence,  where  he  found  it  necessary  to  reside.  The 
separation  of  mother  and  daughter,  which  took  place  early  the  follow- 
ing year,  was  the  occasion  for  the  world-renowned  correspondence, 
which  has  immortalized  the  genius  of  one,  and  the  names  of  both. 


To  know  this,  is  the  thing  I  could  the  most  desire  ;  and  yet 
am  I  in  this  deplorable  condition  !  And  do  you  then  take  a 
pleasure  in  thinking  of  me  ?  in  talking  of  me  ?  and  have  more 
satisfaction  in  writing  your  sentiments  to  me  than  in  telling 
them  ?  In  whatever  way  they  come,  they  meet  with  a  recep- 
tion, the  warmth  of  which  can  only  be  known  to  those  who 
love  as  I  do.  In  expressing  yourself  thus,  you  make  me  feel 
the  greatest  tenderness  for  you  that  is  possible  to  be  felt ;  and 
if  you  think  of  me,  be  assured  that  I,  on  my  side,  am  contin- 
ually thinking  of  you.  Mine  is  what  the  devotees  call  an 
habitual  thought ;  it  is  what  we  ought  to  have  for  the  Divine 
Being,  were  we  to  do  our  duty.  Nothing  is  capable  of  divert- 
ing me  from  it.  I  see  your  carriage  continually  driving  on, 
never,  never  to  come  nearer  to  me ;  I  fancy  myself  on  the 
road,  and  am  always  in  apprehensions  of  the  carriage  over- 
turning. I  am  almost  distracted  at  the  violent  rains  we  have 
had  the  last  three  days,  and  am  frightened  to  death  at  the 
thoughts  of  the  Rhone.  I  have  at  this  instant  a  map  before 
me  ;  I  know  every  place  you  sleep  at.  To-night  you  are  at 
Nevers,  Sunday  you  will  be  at  Lyons,  where  you  will  receive 
this  letter.  I  could  only  write  to  you  at  Moulins  by  Madame 
de  Gueneguad.  I  have  had  but  two  letters  from  you ;  per- 
haps a  third  is  on  the  road ;  they  are  my  only  comfort.  I 
ask  for  no  other.  I  am  utterly  incapable  of  seeing  much 
company  at  a  time  ;  I  may  recover  the  feeling  hereafter,  but 
it  is  out  of  the  question  now.  The  Duchesses  of  Verneciel 
and  Arpajon  have  used  all  their  endeavors  to  divert  me,  for 
which  I  am  much  obliged  to  them.  Never,  surely,  were  there 
better  people  than  in  this  country.  I  was  all  the  day  on  Sat- 
urday at  Madame  de  Villars,*  talking  of  you,  and  weeping ; 
she  takes  a  great  share  in  my  sorrow.  Yesterday  I  heard 
Monsieur  d'Agenf  preach,  and  was  at  Madame  de  Puisieux 
and  Madame  du  Pui-du-Fou's,  who  both  send  you  a  thousand 

*  Marie  de  Bellefond,  Marchioness  of  Yillars,  mother  to  the  late 
marshal  of  that  name. 

f  Claude  Joli,  a  celebrated  preacher,  afterward  Bishop  of  Agen. 

30  LETTERS    TO 

remembrances.  This  evening  I  shall  sup  tete-cirt$te*  in  the 
Fauxbourgs.  These  are  my  carnivals.  I  have  a  mass  said 
for  you  every  day.  This  is  no  superstitious  devotion.  I  have 
seen  Adhemar  f  but  for  a  moment ;  I  am  going  to  write  to 
him  and  thank  him  for  his  bed,  for  which  I  am  more  obliged 
to  him  even  than  you  are.  If  you  would  give  me  real  pleas 
ure,  take  care  of  your  health,  sleep  in  that  little  snug  bed,  eat 
broth,  and  exert  that  courage  which  I  want.  Continue  to 
write  to  me.  The  friendships  you  left  behind  you  here  are 
all  increased,  and  I  should  never  have  done  with  compliments 
If  I  were  to  tell  you  how  much  every  one  is  concerned  about 
your  health. 


Paris,  Wednesday,  February  11,  1671. 
I  have  received  but  three  of  those  delightful  letters  that  so 
affect  my  heart.  One  is  still  on  the  road.  If  I  were  not  so 
fond  of  them,  and  loth  to  lose  any  thing  that  you  write  me,  I 
should  not  think  I  had  lost  much ;  for  nothing  can  be  wished 
for  beyond  what  I  find  in  those  I  have  already  received.  In 
the  first  place,  they  are  well  written,  and  are  besides  so  tender, 
so  natural,  that  it  is  impossible  not  to  believe  every  thing 

*  With  Madame  de  la  Fayette. 

f  Joseph  Adhemar  de  Monteil,  brother  to  M.  de  Grignan,  known  at 
first  by  the  name  of  Adhemar,  was,  after  the  death  of  Charles  Philip 
d' Adhemar,  his  brother,  which  happened  the  6th  of  February,  1612, 
called  the  Chevalier  de  Grignan ;  but  being  afterward  married  to  N*** 
d'Oraison,  he  resumed  the  name  of  Count  Adhemar.  In  1675  he  was 
colonel  to  a  regiment  of  horse,  at  the  head  of  which  he  signalized  him- 
self  on  several  occasions,  particularly  at  the  battle  of  Altemheim.  He 
was  made  field-marshal  in  1688,  and,  had  not  repeated  attacks  of  the 
gout  prevented  him  from  continuing  in  the  service,  he  would,  doubt- 
less, from  his  reputation,  merit,  and  illustrious  birth,  have  obtained 
the  most  considerable  military  honors.  He  died  without  issue  the  19th 
of  November,  1713,  at  the  age  of  sixty-nine. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  31 

contained  in  them.  Distrust  itself  would  here  stand  con- 
vinced. They  wear  that  air  of  truth  which,  as  I  have  always 
maintained,  carries  authority  with  it ;  while  falsehood  and  lies 
skulk  under  a  load  of  words,  without  having  the  power  of 
persuasion ;  the  more  they  attempt  to  show  themselves,  the 
more  they  are  entangled.  Your  expressions  are  sincere,  and 
they  appear  so  ;  they  are  used  only  to  explain  your  meaning, 
and  receive  an  irresistible  force  from  their  noble  simplicity. 
Such,  my  dear  child,  do  your  letters  appear  to  me.  As  for 
me,  I  appear  to  myself  quite  divested  of  every  thing  that 
made  me  agreeable  ;  I  am  ashamed  to  appear  in  society  ;  and 
notwithstanding  the  endeavors  that  have  been  used  to  bring 
me  back  to  it,  I  have  latterly  been  like  one  just  come  out  of 
the  woods  ;  nor  could  I  be  otherwise.  Few  are  worthy  of  un- 
derstanding what  I  feel ;  I  have  sought  those  chosen  few,  and 
avoided  all  others.  I  fancy  you  are  at  Moulins  to-day ;  if  so, 
you  will  receive  one  of  my  letters.  I  did  not  write  to  you  at 
Briafre  ;  if  I  had,  it  must  have  been  on  that  cruel  Wednes- 
day, the  very  day  you  set  off ;  and  I  was  so  overwhelmed 
with  grief  that  I  was  incapable  even  of  tasting  the  consola- 
tion of  writing  to  you.  This  is  the  third  letter  ;  my  second 
is  at  Lyons.  Be  sure  you  let  me  know  if  you  receive  them. 
When  at  a  distance,  we  no  longer  laugh  at  a  letter  beginning 
with,  "  I  received  yours,"  etc.  The  thought  of  your  going 
still  further  and  further  from  me,  and  of  seeing  the  carriage 
continually  driving  on,  is  what  harrows  me  most.  You  are 
always  going  on,  and  at  last,  as  you  say,  you  will  find  your- 
self at  two  hundred  leagues'  distance  from  me ;  resolved, 
therefore,  not  to  suffer  such  injustice  without  repaying  it  in 
my  turn,  I  shall  set  myself  about  removing  further  off,  too, 
and  shall  do  it  so  effectually  as  to  make  it  three  hundred.  A 
very  pretty  distance  you  will  say.  And  would  it  not  be  a 
step  highly  worthy  the  love  I  have  for  you,  to  undertake  to 
traverse  all  France  to  find  you  out  ?  I  am  delighted  at  the 
reconciliation  between  you  and  the  coadjutor ;  you  know  how 
necessaiy  I  always  thought  it  to  the  happiness  of  your  life. 

32  LETTERS    TO 

Preserve  this  treasure  with  care.  You  own  yourself  charmed 
with  his  goodness :  let  him  see  you  are  not  ungrateful.  I 
shall  soon  finish  my  letter ;  perhaps  when  you  get  to  Lyons 
you  will  be  so  giddy  with  the  honors  you  will  receive  there, 
that  you  will  not  find  time  to  read  it ;  find  enough,  however, 
I  beseech  you,  to  let  me  hear  of  you,  and  whether  you  em- 
bark upon  that  horrible  Rhone. 

"Wednesday  night. 

I  have  this  moment  received  yours  from  Nogent ;  it  was 
given  me  by  a  very  honest  fellow,  whom  I  questioned  as  much 
as  I  could ;  but  your  letter  is  worth  more  than  any  thing  that 
could  have  been  told  me.  It  was  but  justice,  my  dear,  that 
you  should  be  the  first  to  make  me  smile,  after  having  caused 
me  so  many  tears.  What  you  tell  me  of  Monsieur  Busche  is 
quite  original ;  it  is  what  may  be  called  a  genuine  stroke  of 
eloquence.  I  did  laugh  then,  I  own,  and  I  should  have  been 
ashamed  of  it  had  I  done  any  thing  else  than  cry  for  this 
week  past.  I  met  this  Monsieur  Busche  in  the  street,  when 
he  was  bringing  your  horses  for  you  to  set  out ;  I  stopped 
him,  and  all  in  tears  asked  him  his  name,  which  he  told  me. 
"  Monsieur  Busche,"  said  I,  sobbing  all  the  while,  "  I  recom- 
mend my  daughter  to  your  care ;  do  not,  dear  Monsieur 
Busche,  do  not  overturn  her  ;  and  when  you  have  taken  her 
safely  to  Lyons,  if  you  will  call  upon  me  with  the  agreeable 
news,  I  will  give  you  something  to  drink."  I  shall,  therefore, 
certainly  do  so.  What  you  say  of  him  has  greatly  added  to 
the  respect  I  had  for  him  before. 


Paris,  Thursday,  February  12,  1671. 
This  is  only  a  line  precursory,  for  I  shall  not  write  to  you 
till  to-morrow;  but  I  wish  you  to  know  what  I  have  just 

MADAME     DE     GRIGNAN.  33 

Yesterday  the  president,  Amelot,  after  having  made  a  great 
number  of  visits,  toward  night  found  himself  a  good  deal  out 
of  order,  and  was  soon  afterward  seized  with  a  violent  apo- 
plectic fit,  of  which  he  died  about  eight  o'clock  this  morning* 
I  would  have  you  write  to  his  wife ;  the  whole  family  aie  in 
the  greatest  affliction. 

Xhe  Duchess  de  la  Valliere  sent  a  letter  to  the  king,  the 
contents  of  which  have  not  transpired,  and  then  a  message  by 
the  Marshal  de  Bellefond,  to  say,  "  that  she  would  have  quit- 
ted the  court,  after  having  lost  the  honor  of  his  good  opinion, 
had  she  been  able  to  prevail  with  herself  to  see  him  no  more  s 
but  that  her  weakness  on  that  head  had  been  so  great  that 
she  was  scarcely  capable,  even  now,  of  making  a  sacrifice  of  it 
to  her  God;  she  was  resolved,  however,  that  the  remains  of 
the  passion  she  had  felt  for  him  should  constitute  part  of  hex 
penance,  and,  as  she  had  devoted  her  youth  to  him,  it  could 
not  be  thought  much  if  the  rest  of  her  life  were  spent  in  cares 
for  her  own  salvation."  The  king  wept  bitterly,  and  sent  Mon- 
sieur Colbert  to  Ch  ail  lot,  to  beg  her  to  come  directly  to  Ver- 
sailles, that  he  might  speak  to  her  once  more.  Monsieur  Col- 
bert accordingly  conducted  her  thither.  The  king  had  a  whole 
hour's  conversation  with  her,  and  wrept  a  great  deal.  Madame 
de  Montespan  ran  with  open  arms,  and  tears  in  her  eyes,  to 
receive  her.  We  do  not  rightly  understand  all  this.  Some 
say  she  will  remain  at  Versailles,  and  continue  about  the 
rourt ;  others  that  she  will  return  to  Chaillot.     We  shall  see. 


Paris,  Tuesday,  March  3,  1671. 
If  you  were  here,  my  dear  child,  you  would  certainly  laugh 
at  me.  I  am  set  down  to  write  beforehand,  but  from  a  very 
different  reason  to  that  which  I  once  gave  you  for  writing  to 
a  person  two  days  before  I  could  send  my  letter :  it  was  a 
matter  of  indifference  to  me,  when  I  wrote,  as  I  knew  I  should 


34  LETTERS    TO 

have  no  more  to  say  to  him  at  the  two  days'  end  than  I  had 
then.  But  here  the  case  is  otherwise.  I  do  it  now  from  the 
regard  I  have  for  you,  and  to  satisfy  the  pleasure  I  take  in 
writing  to  you  every  moment,  which  is  the  sole  comfort  I 
have  now  left.  To-day  I  am  shut  up  by  myself  in  my  room, 
through  excess  of  ill-humor.  I  am  weary  of  every  thing.  I 
took  a  pleasure  in  dining  here,  and  still  a  greater  one  in 
writing  to  vou  out  of  season.  Alas !  you  have  none  of  these 
leisure  moments  !  I  write  quite  at  my  ease,  but  can  hardly 
suppose  you  will  be  able  to  read  what  I  write  in  the  same 
manner.  I  do  not  see  how  it  is  possible  for  you  to  be  a  min- 
ute by  yourself.  On  one  side  I  behold  a  husband  who  adores 
you,  who  is  never  tired  of  being  with  you,  and  who  scarcely 
knows  the  end  of  his  happiness  ;  on  the  other  side,  harangues, 
compliments,  visits,  and  honors  paid  you  without  end;  all 
this  must  be  answered.  Indeed,  you  have  enough  upon  your 
hands.  I  could  not  bear  it  myself  in  my  little  circle.  But 
what  became  of  your  favorite  Indolence  amid  all  this  noise 
and  bustle  ?  It  suffers  now ;  it  retires  into  a  corner,  just 
dead  with  apprehension  of  losing  its  place  in  your  heart  for- 
ever ;  it  seeks  some  vacant  moment  to  put  you  in  remem- 
brance, and  just  drop  a  word  to  you  by  the  by.  u  Alas  !"  it 
says,  "  and  have  you  then  forgotten  me  ?  Remember,  I  am 
your  oldest  acquaintance  ;  the  friend  that  has  never  abandoned 
you ;  the  faithful  companion  of  your  happy  hours,  who  made 
you  amends  for  the  want  of  every  pleasure,  and  for  whose 
sake  you  have  sometimes  hated  them.  It  was  I  that  prevented 
your  dying  of  the  vapors  while  you  were  in  Brittany.  Some- 
times, indeed,  your  mother  would  break  in  upon  our  joys, 
but  then  I  knew  where  to  have  you  again.  Now  I  know  not 
what  will  become  of  me.  These  shows,  all  this  pageantry, 
will  be  my  death,  unless  you  take  some  care  of  me."  Me- 
thinks  I  hear  you  speak  a  kind  word  to  it  as  you  go  by ;  you 
give  it  some  hopes  of  possessing  you  when  at  Grignan ;  but 
you  are  gone  in  an  instant,  and  can  not  find  time  to  say  more. 
Duty  and  reason  are  with  you,  and  allow  you  not  a  moment's 

MADAME     DE     GRIGNAN.  35 

repose  ;  I,  who  have  always  so  highly  honored  these  person- 
ages, am  now  quite  out  with  them,  and  they  with  me.  How 
then  will  they  permit  you  to  waste  your  time  in  reading  such 
trifles  as  these  ?  I  assure  you,  my  dear  child,  I  am  continu- 
ally thinking  of  you  ;  and  I  experience  every  day  the  truth  of 
what  you  once  told  me,  that  there  are  certain  thoughts  which 
are  not  to  he  dwelt  upon,  but  passed  over  as  lightly  as  pos- 
sible, unless  we  would  be  forever  in  tears.  This  is  my  case : 
for  there  is  not  a  place  in  the  house  which  does  not  give  a 
stab  to  my  heart  when  I  see  it ;  but  your  room  especially 
deals  a  deadly  blow  from  every  part  of  it.  I  have  placed  a 
screen  in  the  middle  of  it,  that  I  may  at  least  take  something 
from  the  prospect.  As  for  the  window  from  which  I  saw 
you  get  into  D'Hacqueville's  coach,  and  then  called  you  back 
again,  I  shudder  every  time  I  think  how  near  I  was  throwing 
myself  out  of  it  after  you.  I  was  likely  enough  to  have  done 
it,  for  at  times  I  am  not  in  my  senses.  The  closet  where  I 
held  you  last  in  my  arms,  without  knowing  what  I  did  ;  the 
Capuchins,  where  I  used  to  go  to  mass  ;  the  tears  that  fell  so 
fast  from  my  eyes  that  they  wetted  the  ground,  as  if  water 
had  been  thrown  on  it ;  Saint  Mary's,  Madame  de  la  Fayette, 
my  return  to  the  house,  your  room,  that  night,  the  next  morn- 
ing, your  first  letter,  and  every  one  since,  and  still  every  day, 
and  every  conversation  of  those  who  feel  with  me,  are  so 
many  remembrancers  of  my  loss.  Poor  D'Hacqueville  holds 
the  first  rank  ;  I  shall  never  forget  the  compassion  he  showed 
me,  These  are  the  thoughts  incessantly  uppermost ;  yet  these 
are  to  be  passed  over,  it  seems  ;  we  are  not  to  abandon  our 
selves  to  our  thoughts,  and  the  emotions  of  our  heart.  1 
had  rather,  however,  continue  my  reveries  on  the  kind  of  life 
you  are  leading.  It  occasions  a  sort  of  diversion,  without 
making  me  abandon  my  principal,  my  beloved  object.  I  do 
then  think  of  you.  I  am  always  wishing  for  letters  from 
you.  One  wish  of  this  nature,  when  gratified,  is  followed  by 
another  continually.  I  am  in  this  state  of  expectation  now,  an<\ 
shall  go  on  with  my  letter  when  I  have  received  one  from  you 

36  LETTERS    TO 


Paris,  "Wednesday,  March  18,  16V 1. 

I  have  received  two  packets  at  once,  which  have  been  de- 
layed for  a  considerable  time.  By  these  I  am  at  length  in- 
formed from  yourself,  of  your  entry  into  Aix,  but  you  do  not 
mention  whether  your  husband  was  with  you,  or  in  what 
manner  Vardes  honored  your  triumph ;  but  you  describe  the 
triumph  itself  very  humorously,  as  well  as  the  embarrassment 
you  were  under,  and  your  many  misplaced  civilities.  I  wish 
that  I  had  been  with  you ;  not  that  I  should  have  done  better 
than  yourself,  for  I  have  not  so  good  a  gift  of  fixing  names 
upon  faces — on  the  contrary,  I  daily  commit  a  thousand  blun- 
ders in  that  way — but  I  think  I  could  have  been  of  some  as- 
sistance to  you,  at  least  I  should  have  made  courtesies  enough. 
It  is  true,  that  such  a  multiplicity  of  ceremonies  and  attentions 
is  very  tiresome.  You  should,  nevertheless,  endeavor  not  to 
be  deficient  in  any  of  these  points,  but  accommodate  yourself, 
as  much  as  possible,  to  the  customs  and  the  manners  of  those 
among  whom  you  are  to  live. 

An  event  has  just  taken  place,  which  engrosses  the  whole 
conversation  of  Paris.     The  king  has  ordered  Monsieur  de 

S to  resign  his  post,  and  to  quit  Paris  immediately.    Can 

you  guess  the  reason  ?  For  having  cheated  at  play,  and  won 
upward  of  five  hundred  thousand  crowns  with  false  cards ! 
The  man  who  made  these  cards  was  examined  by  the  king 
himself;  he  denied  the  fact  at  first;  but,  upon  his  majesty's 
promising  him  a  pardon,  he  confessed  that  he  had  followed 
the  trade  for  a  long  time.  It  is  said  that  the  affair  will  not 
rtop  here,  for  that  there  are  several  houses  which  he  used  to 
furnish  with  these  cards.  It  was  some  time  before  the  kins: 
**mld  prevail  upon  himself  to  disgrace  a  man  of  Monsieur  de 

S 7s  quality  ;  but  as,  for  several  months  past,  every  body 

that  had  played  with  him  had  been  in  a  manner  ruined,  he 
thought  he  could  not  in  conscience  do  less  than  bring  such  a 
scene  of  villainy  to  light.    S was  so  perfectly  master  of 

MADAME     DE     GBIONAN.  37 

his  adversaries'  game,  that  he  always  made  sept  et  le  va  upon 
the  queen  of  spades,  because  he  knew  the  spades  lay  all  in  the 
other  packs.  The  king  as  constantly  lost  one-and-thirty  upon 
clubs,  and  used  to  say,  clubs  never  win  against  spades  in 
this  country.  This  man  had  given  thirty  pistoles  to  Madame 
de  la  Valliere's  valets  de  chambre  to  throw  all  the  cards  they 
had  in  the  house  into  the  river,  in  the  pretense  that  they  were 
not  good,  and  had  introduced  his  own  card-maker.  He  was 
first  led  into  this  fine  way  of  life   by  one  Pradier,  who  has 

since  disappeared.     Had  S known  himself  innocent,  he 

would  immediately  have  delivered  himself  up,  and  insisted 
upon  taking  his  trial ;  but,  instead  of  this,  he  took  the  road  to 
Languedoc,  as  the  surest  way  of  the  two  ;  many,  however,  ad- 
vised him  to  take  a  journey  to  La  Trappe,*  after  such  a  mis- 

Madame  d'Humieres  has  charged  me  with  a  thousand  good 
wishes  for  you.  She  is  going  to  Lille,  where  she  will  receive 
as  many  honors  as  you  did  at  Aix.  Marshal  Bellefond, 
through  a  pure  motive  of  piety,  has  settled  with  his  creditors. 
He  has  given  up  to  them  the  principal  part  of  his  property, 
besides  half  the  profits  of  his  post,f  to  complete  the  payment 
of  the  arrears.  This  is  a  noble  action,  and  shows  that  his 
visits  to  La  Trappe  have  not  been  without  effect.  I  went  the 
other  day  to  see  the  Duchess  of  Ventadour ;  she  was  as  hand- 
some as  an  angel.  The  Duchess  of  Nevers  came  in,  with  her 
head  dressed  very  ridiculously.  You  may  believe  me,  for  you 
know  I  am  an  admirer  of  fashion.  Martin  had  cropped  her 
to  the  very  extremity  of  the  mode. 

Your  brother  is  at  St.  Germain ;  he  divides  his  time  with 
Ninon,  a  young  actress,!  and,  to  crown  the  whole,  Despreaux. 
We  lead  him  a  sad  life. 

*  La  Trappe  is  a  society  of  religious  monks,  remarkable  for  the 
austerity  of  their  lives,  and  the  severe  discipline  practiced  among  them. 

f  That  of  chief  maitre  d'hotel,  or  master  cf  the  household,  to  the 

X  Called  la  ChampSlee. 

38  LETTERS    TO 


Paris,  Friday,  AprL  lr  16*71. 
I  returned  yesterday  from  St.  Germain  with  Madame  d'Ar- 
pajon.  Every  one  at  court  inquired  after  you;  among  the 
rest,  it  will  not  be  amiss,  I  think,  to  distinguish  the  queen, 
who  accosted  me,  and  asked  how  my  daughter  was  after  her 
affair  upon  the  Rhone.  I  returned  her  majesty  thanks  for  the 
honor  she  did  you  in  remembering  you.  She  then  desired 
me  to  tell  her  in  what  manner  you  had  like  to  have  been  lost ; 
I  accordingly  gave  her  an  account  of  your  crossing  the  river 
in  a  storm  of  wind,  and  that  a  sudden  gust  had  thrown  you 
under  an  arch,  within  an  inch  of  one  of  the  piles,  which  if 
you  had  once  touched,  all  the  world  could  not  have  saved 
you.  But,  says  the  queen,  "  Was  her  husband  with  her  ?" 
"  Yes,  madam,  and  the  coadjutor  too."  "  Really,"  said  she, 
"  they  were  greatly  to  blame."  She  gave  two  or  three  alasses ! 
while  I  was  talking  to  her,  and  said  many  obliging  things  of 
you.  Afterward  a  number  of  ladies  came  in,  and  among  the 
rest  the  young  Duchess  of  Ventadour,  very  fine  and  very 
handsome ;  it  Avas  some  time  before  they  brought  her  the 
divine  tabouret  ;*  "  Ah,"  said  I,  turning  to  the  grand  master,f 
"  why  do  they  not  give  it  to  her,  she  has  purchased  it  dearly 
enough  ?"J  He  was  of  my  opinion.  In  the  midst  of  a  silence 
in  the  circle,  the  queen  turned  to  me,  and  asked  me  who  my 
granddaughter  was  like?  "M.  de  Grignan,  madam,"  replied 
I.  Upon  which  her  majesty  exclaimed,  "  Indeed  !  I  am  sorry 
for  it ;"  and  added,  in  a  low  tone  of  voice,  "  She  had  better 
have  resembled  her  mother  or  grandmother."  So  you  see 
how  much  I  am  indebted  to  you  in  making  my  court. 
Marshal  Bellefond  made  me  promise  to  distinguish  him  from 

*  The  tabouret  is  a  stool  to  sit  on  in  the  presence  of  the  queen,  a 
privilege  never  enjoyed  but  by  ladies  of  the  first  quality. 

f  The  Count  de  Lude,  grand  master  of  the  artillery. 

\  Monsieur  de  Yentadour  was  not  only  very  ugly  and  deformed,  but, 
at  the  same  time,  a  great  debauchee. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  39 

the  crowd.  I  made  your  compliments  to  Monsieur  and  Ma- 
dame Duras,  and  to  Messieurs  de  Charot  and  Montausier,  and 
tutti  quanti,  not  to  forget  the  dauphin  and  mademoiselle,  who 
both  talked  a  great  deal  to  me  about  you.  I  likewise  saw 
Madame  de  Ludre  ;  she  accosted  me  with  an  excess  of  civility 
and  kindness  that  surprised  me,  and  talked  in  the  most  affec- 
tionate manner  of  you,  when  all  on  a  sudden,  as  I  was  going 
to  make  her  a  suitable  answer,  I  found  she  was  not  attending 
to  me,  and  saw  her  fine  eyes  wandering  round  the  room.  I 
presently  perceived  it,  and  those  who  saw  I  took  notice  of  it 
were  pleased  with  me,  and  could  not  help  laughing. 

I  have  been  extremely  diverted  with  our  hurly-burly  head- 
dresses ;  some  of  them  looked  as  if  you  could  have  blown 
them  oft"  their  shoulders.  Ninon*  said  that  La  Choiseul  was 
as  like  the  flaunting  hostess  of  an  inn,  as  one  drop  of  water  to 
another ;  a  most  excellent  simile !  But  that  Ninon  is  a  dan- 
gerous creature ;  if  you  only  knew  how  she  argues  upon  re- 
ligion it  would  make  you  shudder.  Her  zeal  to  pervert  the 
minds  of  young  people  is  much  the  same  as  that  of  a  certain 
gentleman  of  St.  Germain,  that  we  saw  once  at  Livri.  She 
says  your  brother  has  all  the  simplicity  of  the  dove,  that  he  is 
just  like  his  mother ;  but  that  Madame  de  Grignan  has  all 
the  fire  of  the  family,  and  has  more  sense  than  to  be  so  docile. 
A  certain  person  would  have  taken  your  part,  and  put  her  out 
of  conceit  with  you  on  that  head,  but  she  bid  him  hold  his 
tongue,  and  told  him  that  she  knew  more  of  the  matter  than 
he  did.  What  a  depravity  of  taste  !  Because  she  knows  you 
to  be  handsome  and  witty,  she  must  needs  saddle  you  with 
the  other  qualification,  without  which,  according  to  her  rule, 
there  is  no  being  perfect.  I  am  greatly  concerned  for  the 
harm  she  does  my  son  in  this  point ;  but  do  not  take  any  no- 
tice of  it  to  him.  Madame  de  la  Fayette  and  I  use  all  our 
endeavors  to  disengage  him  from  so  dangerous  an  attachment. 
Besides  her,  he  has  a  little  actress,f  and  all  the  players  of  the 

*  Ninon  de  l'Enclos,  famous  for  her  wit  and  free-thinking. 
f  La  Champelee. 

40  LETTERS    TO 

town  upon  his  hands,  to  whom  he  gives  suppers ;  in  short,  he 
is  perfectly  infatuated.  You  know  what  a  joke  he  makes  of 
Mascaron.  I  fancy  your  Minim*  would  suit  him.  I  never 
read  any  thing  more  diverting  than  what  you  wrote  to  me 
about  that  man  ;  I  read  it  to  Monsieur  de  la  Rochefoucault, 
who  laughed  heartily  at  it.  He  desires  me  to  tell  you,  that 
there  is  a  certain  apostle  who  is  running  up  and  down  after 
his  rib,  which  he  would  fain  appropriate  to  himself,  as  a  part 
of  his  goods  and  chattels ;  but,  unluckily  for  him,  he  is  not 
clever  at  enterprise.  I  fancy  Mellusina  is  fallen  into  some  pit, 
we  do  not  hear  a  single  word  about  her.  M.  de  la  Rochefou- 
cault says  besides,  that  if  he  was  only  thirty  years  younger,  he 
should  certainly  have  a  great  inclination  for  M.  de  Grignan's 
third  rib.f  That  part  of  your  letter,  where  you  say  he  has 
already  had  two  of  his  ribs  broken,  made  him  laugh  heartily ; 
we  always  wish  for  some  oddity  or  other  to  divert  you,  but 
we  very  much  doubt  whether  this  has  not  turned  out  rather 
more  to  your  satisfaction  than  ours.  After  all,  we  pity  you 
extremely,  in  not  having  the  word  of  God  preached  in  a  suit- 
able manner.  Ah,  that  Bourdaloiie !  his  sermon  on  the 
Passion  was,  they  say,  the  most  perfect  thing  of  the  kind  that 
can  be  imagined ;  it  was  the  same  he  preached  last  year,  but 
revised  and  altered  with  the  assistance  of  some  of  his  friends, 
that  it  might  be  wholly  inimitable ;  how  can  one  love  God,  if 
one  never  hears  him  properly  spoken  of?  you  must  really 
possess  a  greater  portion  of  grace  than  others.  We  went  the 
other  day  to  hear  the  Abbe  Montmort  ;J  I  never  heard  a  pret- 
tier sermon  for  so  young  a  beginner.  I  wish  you  had  such  a 
one  in  the  room  of  your  Minim.  He  made  the  sign  of  the 
cross,  and  gave  out  his  text;  he  did  not  anathematize  his 
audience,  he  did  not  load  us  with  abuse  ;  he  told  us  not  to  be 
under  any  apprehensions  concerning  death,  since  it  was  the 
only  passage  we  had  to  a  glorious  resurrection  with  Jesus 

*  The  priest  who  preached  at  Grignan. 

f  That  is,  to  Mme.  de  Grignan,  who  was  M.  de  Grignan's  third  wife. 

%  Afterward  Bishop  of  Bayonne. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  41 

Christ.  We  agreed  with  him  in  this,  and  every  one  went 
away  contented.  He  has  nothing  offensive  in  his  manner ;  he 
imitates  Monsieur  d'Agen  without  copying  him ;  he  has  a 
modest  confidence,  is  learned,  and  pious.  In  short,  I  was 
highly  pleased  with  him. 


Paris,  Friday,  April  10,  1671. 
I  wrote  to  you  on  Wednesday  by  the  post,  yesterday  by 
Magalotti,  and  to-day  again  by  the  post ;  but  last  night  I  lost 
a  charming  opportunity.  I  went  to  walk  at  Vincennes,  en 
Troche*  and  by  the  way  met  with  a  string  of  galley-slaves ; 
they  were  going  to  Marseilles,  and  will  be  there  in  about  a 
month.  Nothing  could  have  been  surer  than  this  mode  of 
conveyance,  but  another  thought  came  into  my  head,  which 
was  to  go  with  them  myself.  There  was  one  Duval  among 
them,  who  appeared  to  be  a  conversible  man.  You  will  see 
them  when  they  come  in,  and  I  suppose  you  would  have 
been  agreeably  surprised  to  have  seen  me  in  the  midst  of 
the  crowd  of  women  that  accompany  them.  I  wish  you 
knew  of  what  importance  the  words  Provence,  Marseilles,  Aix, 
are  become  to  me  ;  even  the  Rhone,  that  devilish  Rhone,  and 
Lyons,  are  something  to  me.  Brittany  and  Burgundy  appear 
like  places  under  the  pole,  in  which  I  take  no  sort  of  inter- 
est. I  may  say  with  Coulanges,  "  O,  the  surprising  power  of 
my  orvietan  !"  Really,  my  child,  it  was  admirable  in  you  to 
desire  the  abbef  to  prevent  my  sending  you  any  more  pres- 
ents !  What  nonsense !  Do  I  in  reality  make  you  any  ? 
You  call  the  newspapers  I  send  you  by  that  name.  You 
never  can  divest  me  of  the  desire  of  thus  giving;  :t  is  the 
most  sensible  pleasure  I  can  enjoy.     You  should  rather  re- 

*  With  her  friend,  Madame  de  la  Troche. 

f  The  Abbe  de  Coulanges,  who  lived  with  his  niece,  Madame  de 

42  LETTERS     TO 

joice  with  me,  if  I  indulged  myself  more  frequently  in  it. 
The  method  you  took  of  thanking  me  was  highly  pleasing 
to  me. 

Your  letters  are  excellent ;  one  might  venture  to  say  they 
were  not  dictated  by  the  good  ladies  of  the  country  where 
you  reside.  I  find  that  M.  de  Grignan,  to  his  other  connec- 
tions with  you,  adds  that  of  being  your  companion  ;  he  seems 
to  me  the  only  one  who  understands  you.  Be  careful  to  pre- 
serve the  happiness  of  his  heart  by  the  tenderness  of  yours, 
and  consider  that  if  you  do  not  both  love  me,  each  accord- 
ing to  your  proper  degree  of  estimation,  you  will  be  the 
most  ungrateful  of  beings.  The  new  opinion,  that  there  is 
no  such  thing  as  ingratitude  in  the  world,  appears  to  me, 
for  the  reasons  which  we  have  so  frequently  discussed,  like  the 
philosophy  of  Descartes,  and  the  contrary  one  like  that  of 
Aristotle.  You  know  the  deference  I  always  paid  to  the 
authority  of  the  latter ;  it  is  the  same  with  respect  to  my 
opinion  of  ingratitude.  I  should  pronounce  you  then,  my 
child,  to  be  a  little  ungrateful  wretch ;  but,  happily,  and  the 
idea  constitutes  all  my  comfort,  I  know  you  to  be  incapable 
of  such  conduct,  and  I  therefore  yield  without  reserve  to  the 
feelings  of  my  heart.  Adieu,  my  dearest  love,  I  am  going 
to  close  this  letter.  I  shall  write  you  another  to-night,  in 
which  I  shall  give  you  an  account  of  the  occurrences  of  the 
day.  We  are  every  day  in  hopes  of  letting  your  house  ;  you 
may  suppose  I  can  forget  nothing  that  relates  to  you ;  I 
am  as  interested  in  your  affairs  as  the  most  selfish  being 
ever  was  in  his  own. 


Friday  night,  April  10,  1671. 
I  make  up  my  packet  at  Monsieur  de  la  Rochefoucault's, 
who  embraces  you  very  heartily  ;  he  is  delighted  with  your 
answer  about  the  canons  and  Father  Desmares.     There  is 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  43 

some  pleasure  m  sending  you  these  trifles,  you  answer  them 
so  prettily.  He  begs  you  to  be  assured  that  you  still  live 
strongly  in  his  remembrance,  and  that  if  he  bears  any  thing 
worth  your  notice  he  will  certainly  communicate  it  to  you. 
He  is  at  his  Hotel  de  Rochefoucault,  having  no  longer  any 
hopes  of  recovering  the  use  of  his  feet ;  he  talks  of  going  to 
the  waters ;  I  am  for  sending  him  to  Digne,  others  to  Bour- 
bon. I  dined  en  Bavardin*  and  in  so  complete  a  style  that 
I  thought  we  should  have  died.  We  did  not  talk,  merely,  as 
we  used  to  do ;  we  did  nothing  but  chatter. 

Brancas  was  overturned  the  other  day  into  a  ditch,  where 
he  found  himself  so  much  at  his  ease,  that  he  asked  those 
who  came  to  help  him  out  if  they  had  any  occasion  for  his 
services.  His  glasses  were  all  broken,  and  his  head  wTould 
have  been  so,  too,  if  he  had  not  been  more  lucky  than  wise ; 
but  all  this  did  not  seem  to  have  destroyed  his  reverie  in  the 
least.  I  wrote  this  morning  to  let  him  know  he  had  been 
overturned,  and  was  very  near  breaking  his  neck,  as  I  sup- 
posed he  was  the  only  person  in  Paris  who  was  ignorant  of 
it ;  and  that  I  took  the  opportunity  of  expressing  the  concern 
it  gave  me.    I  expect  his  answer. 


From  Monsieur  De  la  Rochefoucault's, 
Friday  evening,  April  24,  1671. 

Here,  then,  I  make  up  my  packet.  I  had  intended  to  tell 
you  that  the  king  arrived  yesterday  evening  at  Chantilly : 
he  hunted  a  stag  by  moonlight ;  the  lamps  did  wonders  ;  the 
fire-works  were  a  little  eclipsed  by  the  brightness  of  our  se- 
rene friend,  the  moon ;  but  the  evening,  the  supper,  and  the 
entertainment,  went  off  admirably  well.  The  weather  we  had 
yesterday  gave  us  hopes  of  an  end  worthy  of  so  fine  a  begin- 

*  That  is,  at  Madame  de  Lavardin's,  who  was  extremely  fond  of 

44  LETTERS    TO 

ning.  But  what  do  you  think  I  learned  when  I  came  here  ? 
I  am  not  yet  recovered,  and  hardly  know  what  I  write. 
Vatel,  the  great  Vatel,  late  maitre-d'hotel  to  M.  Fouquet,  and 
in  that  capacity  with  the  prince,  a  man  so  eminently  distin- 
guished for  taste,  and  whose  abilities  were  equal  to  the  gov- 
ernment of  a  state — this  man,  whom  I  knew  so  well,  finding, 
at  eight  o'clock  this  morning,  that  the  fish  he  had  sent  for 
did  not  come  at  the  time  he  expected  it,  and  unable  to  bear 
the  disgrace  that  he  thought  would  inevitably  attach  to  him, 
ran  himself  through  with  his  own  sword.  Guess  what  con- 
fusion so  shocking  an  accident  must  have  occasioned.  Think, 
too,  that  perhaps  the  fish  might  come  in  just  as  he  was  ex- 
piring. I  know  no  more  of  the  affair  at  present,  and  I  sup- 
pose you  think  this  enough.  I  make  no  doubt  the  consterna- 
tion was  general ;  it  must  be  very  disagreeable  to  have  so 
fatal  an  event  break  in  upon  an  entertainment  that  cost  fifty 
thousand  crowns. 

Monsieur  De  Menars  is  to  be  married  to  Mademoiselle  De 
la  Grange-Neuville  ;  but  I  do  not  know  how  I  can  have  the 
heart  to  speak  to  you  about  any  thing  but  Vatel. 


Paris,  Sunday,  April  26,  16U. 
This  is  Sunday,  April  26th,  and  this  letter  will  not  go 
out  till  Wednesday;  but  it  is  not  so  much  a  letter  as  a 
narrative  that  I  have  just  learned  from  Moreuil,  of  what 
passed  at  Chantilly  with  regard  to  poor  Vatel.  I  wrote  to 
you  last  Friday  that  he  had  stabbed  himself — these  are  the 
particulars  of  the  affair  :  The  king  arrived  there  on  Thurs- 
day night ;  the  walk,  and  the  collation,  which  was  served  in 
a  place  set  apart  for  the  purpose,  and  strewed  with  jonquils, 
were  just  as  they  should  be.  Supper  was  served,  but  there 
was  no  roast  meat  at  one  or  two  of  the  tables,  on  account  of 
Vatel's  having  been  obliged  to  provide  several  dinners  more 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  45 

than  were  expected.  This  affected  his  spirits,  and  he  was 
heard  to  say,  several  times  :  "  I  have  lost  my  honor !  I  can 
not  bear  this  disgrace  r  "  My  head  is  quite  bew.ldered," 
said  he  to  Gourville.  "  I  have  not  had  a  wink  of  sleep  these 
twelve  nights  ;  I  wish  you  would  assist  me  in  giving  orders." 
Gourville  did  all  he  could  to  coinfort  and  assist  him  ;  but  the 
failure  of  the  roast  meat  (which,  however,  did  not  happen  at 
the  king's  table,  but  at  some  of  the  other  twenty-five),  was 
always  uppermost  with  him.  Gourville  mentioned  it  to  the 
prince,  who  went  directly  to  Vatel's  apartment,  and  said  to 
him  :  "  Every  thing  is  extremely  well  conducted,  Vatel ;  noth- 
ing could  be  more  admirable  than  his  majesty's  supper." 
"  Your  highness's  goodness,"  replied  he,  "  overwhelms  me ; 
I  am  sensible  that  there  was  a  deficiency  of  roast  meat  at 
two  tables."  "  Not  at  all,"  said  the  prince  ;  "  do  not  perplex 
yourself,  and  all  will  go  well."  Midnight  came :  the  fire- 
works did  not  succeed,  they  were  covered  with  a  thick  cloud ; 
they  cost  sixteen  thousand  francs.  At  four  o'clock  in  the 
morning  Vatel  went  round  and  found  every  body  asleep  ;  he 
met  one  of  the  under-purveyors,  who  was  just  come  in  with 
only  two  loads  of  fish.  "  What !"  said  he,  "  is  this  all  ?" 
"  Yes,  sir,"  said  the  man,  not  knowing  that  Vatel  had  dis- 
patched other  people  to  all  the  sea-ports  around.  Vatel  wait- 
ed for  some  time ;  the  other  purveyors  did  not  arrive ;  his 
head  grew  distracted  ;  he  thought  there  was  no  more  fish  to 
be  had.  He  flew  to  Gourville  :  "  Sir,"  said  he,  "  I  can  not 
outlive  this  disgrace."  Gourville  laughed  at  him.  Vatel, 
however,  went  to  his  apartment,  and  setting  the  hilt  of  his 
sword  against  the  door,  after  two  ineffectual  attempts,  suc- 
ceeded in  the  third,  in  forcing  his  sword  through  his  heart 
At  that  instant  the  carriers  arrived  with  the  fish  ;  Vatel  was 
inquired  after  to  distribute  it.  They  ran  to  his  apartment, 
knocked  at  the  door,  but  received  no  answer,  upon  which 
they  broke  it  open,  and  found  him  weltering  in  his  blood. 
A  messenger  was  immediately  dispatched  to  acquaint  the 
prince  with  what  had  happened,  who  was  like  a  man  in  de- 

46  LETTERS    TO 

spair.  The  duke  wept,  for  his  Burgundy  journey  depended 
upon  Vatel.  The  prince  related  the  whole  affair  to  his  maj- 
esty with  an  expression  of  great  concern ;  it  was  considered 
as  the  consequence  of  too  nice  a  sense  of  honor ;  some 
blamed,  others  praised  him  for  his  courage.  The  king  said 
he  had  put  off  this  excursion  for  more  than  five  years,  because 
he  was  aware  that  it  would  be  attended  with  infinite  trouble, 
and  told  the  prince  that  he  ought  to  have  had  but  two  tables, 
and  not  have  been  at  the  expense  of  so  many,  and  declared 
he  would  never  suffer  him  to  do  so  again  ;  but  all  this  was 
too  late  for  poor  Vatel.  However,  Gourville  attempted  to  sup- 
ply the  loss  of  Vatel,  which  he  did  in  great  measure.  The 
dinner  was  elegant,  the  collation  was  the  same.  They  supped, 
they  walked,  they  hunted ;  all  was  perfumed  with  jonquils, 
all  was  enchantment.  Yesterday,  which  was  Saturday,  the 
same  entertainments  were  renewed,  and  in  the  evening  the 
king  set  out  for  Liancourt,  where  he  had  ordered  a  media* 
noche  ;*  he  is  to  stay  there  three  days.  This  is  what  Moreuil 
has  told  me,  hoping  I  should  acquaint  you  with  it.  I  wash 
my  hands  of  the  rest,  for  I  know  nothing  about  it.  M. 
D'Hacqueville,  who  was  present  at  the  scene,  will,  no  doubt, 
give  you  a  faithful  account  of  all  that  passed ;  but,  because 
his  hand-writing  is  not  quite  so  legible  as  mine,  I  write  too ; 
if  I  am  circumstantial,  it  is  because,  on  such  an  occasion,  I 
should  like  circumstantiality  myself. 


Monday,  May  18,  16U. ) 
Just  going  to  set  out.     f 

At  last,  my  dear  child,  I  am  just  ready  to  step  into  my 
carriage :  there ! — I  am  in — adieu !  I  never  shall  use  that 
word  to  you  without  real  grief.     I  am  now  on  my  way  for 

*  Media-noche  is  a  flesh-meal  just  after  midnight,  among  the  Ro- 
man  Catholics. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  47 

Brittany.  Is  it  possible  that  any  thing  can  increase  the  dis- 
tance between  us,  when  we  are  already  separated  from  each 
other  more  than  two  hundred  leagues  ?  But  so  it  is ;  I  have 
found  a  way  to  complete  it ;  and  as  you  thought  your  town 
of  Aix  not  quite  far  enough  from  me,  I  also,  look  upon  Paris 
as  too  much  in  your  neighborhood.  You  went  to  Marseilles 
to  fly  me,  and  I,  to  pay  you  in  your  own  coin,  am  going  to 
Vitre.  But  to  be  serious,  my  dear,  our  correspondence  will 
suffer  by  this ;  it  used  to  be  a  great  source  of  consolation  and 
amusement  to  me.  Alas !  what  shall  I  have  to  say  to  you 
from  the  midst  of  my  woods  ?  I  shall  have  nothing  to  enter- 
tain you  with  but  accounts  of  Mademoiselle  du  Plessis  and 
Jaquine  ;*  charming  subjects  these !  I  am  very  happy  in 
what  you  tell  me  of  your  health,  but,  in  the  name  of  God,  if 
you  have  any  love  for  me,  take  care  of  yourself;  do  not  dance, 
do  not  fall,  take  a  good  deal  of  rest,  and,  above  all  things,  ar- 
range your  plans  so  as  to  lie-in  at  Aix,  where  you  may  have 
the  best  and  the  most  timely  assistance.  You  know  how  ex- 
peditious you  are  on  those  occasions ;  be  sure  to  have  every 
thing  ready  rather  too  soon  than  too  late.  Good  Heavens  ! 
what  shall  I  not  suffer  at  that  period  ! 

You  relate  the  dispute  you  had  with  our  friend  Vivonne 
very  agreeably.  I  think  the  fault  lies  entirely  on  his  side. 
You  laid  a  famous  trap  in  which  you  caught  him  completely. 
His  confusion  made  me  sweat  for  him,  and  he  did  so  himself, 
I  dare  say ;  but  in  the  end  you  made  it  up  and  embraced  him ! 
a  greatf  undertaking  that,  for  one  in  your  situation.  If  your 
quarrels  must  end  thus,  you  ought  to  have  no  quarrels  not 
enemies  upon  your  hands. 

*  A  pretty  servant  girl  of  Madame  de  Sevigne's  at  her  house  in 

\  Monsieur  de  Yivonne  was  remarkable  for  his  great  bulk. 

48  LETTERS    TO 


From  the  Rocks,*  Sunday,  May  31,  1611. 

At  last,  my  child,  I  am  at  the  Rocks.  Can  I  behold  these 
walks,  can  I  view  these  ornaments,  this  little  closet,  these 
books,  these  rooms,  and  not  die  with  grief?'  Some  recollec- 
tions are  agreeable,  but  there  are  others  again  so  lively  and  so 
tender  that  they  are  hardly  supportable ;  such  are  mine  with 
respect  to  you.  And  you  may  easily  guess  the  effect  this  is 
likely  to  produce  in  a  heart  like  mine. 

If  you  continue  pretty  well,  my  dear  child,  I  believe  I  shall 
not  come  to  you  till  next  year.  Brittany  and  Provence  are 
not  very  compatible  ;  long  journeys  are  strange  things.  If  we 
were  always  to  continue  in  the  same  mind  we  are  in  at  the 
end  of  a  journey,  we  should  never  stir  from  the  place  we  were 
then  in ;  but  Providence,  in  kindness  to  us,  causes  us  to  forget 
it.  It  is  much  the  same  with  lying-in  women.  Heaven  per- 
mits this  forgetfulness  that  the  world  may  be  peopled,  and 
that  folks  may  take  journeys  to  Provence.  Mine,  therefore, 
will  afford  me  the  greatest  joy  I  ever  received  in  my  life,  but 
how  cruel  a  thought  is  it  to  see  no  end  to  your  stay  there  !  I 
more  and  more  admire  and  applaud  your  prudence,  though, 
to  tell  you  the  truth,  I  am  greatly  affected  with  this  impossi- 
bility ;  but  I  hope  time  will  make  us  see  things  in  a  different 
light.  We  must  always  live  in  hope  ;  without  that  consola- 
tion there  would  be  no  living.  I  sometimes  pass  such  mel- 
ancholy moments  in  the  woods,  that  I  return  as  changed  as 
one  just  out  of  a  fever.  I  fancy  you  pass  your  time  pretty 
well  at  Marseilles.  Do  not  fail  to  tell  me  how  you  were  re- 
ceived at  Grignan.  The  people  here  had  designed  to  make  a 
kind  of  triumphal  entry  for  my  son  ;  Vaillant  had  drawn  out 
near  fifteen  hundred  men  under  arms,  very  well  dressed,  with 
new  ribbons  round  their  necks,  and  had  marched  them  within 
a  league  of  the  Rocks.     But  guess  what  happened !     Our 

*  The  name  of  Madame  de  Sevigne's  estate  in  Brittany. 


abbe  bad  written  word  tbat  we  sbould  be  tbere  on  Tuesday, 
and  afterward  forgot  to  mention  it  to  us.  Accordingly  these 
poor  people  were  waiting  under  arms  the  whole  day  till  ten 
o'clock  at  night,  when  they  returned  home  very  much  cha- 
grined at  their  disappointment;  and  behold  the  next  day, 
which  was  Wednesday,  we  came  in  as  quiet  and  peaceable  as 
lambs,  without  dreaming  that  a  little  army  had  been  drawn 
out  to  receive  us !  We  were  a  good  deal  vexed  at  this  mis- 
take, but  there  was  no  remedy ;  so  much  for  our  first  setting 
out.  Mademoiselle  du  Plessis  is  just  as  you  left  her.  She 
has  formed  a  new  acquaintance  at  Vitre  that  she  plumes  her- 
self mightily  upon,  because  she  is  a  great  genius,  has  read  all 
the  romances,  and,  more  than  that,  has  had  two  letters  from 
the  Princess  de  Tarante.  I  was  wicked  enough  to  set  Vaillant 
upon  telling  her  that  I  was  jealous  of  this  new  friend  of  hers, 
and  that,  when  I  heard  of  their  intimacy,  it  had  given  me  the 
greatest  uneasiness,  though  I  had  taken  no  notice  of  it  to  her. 
It  requires  the  pen  of  a  Moliere  to  describe  all  she  says  upon 
the  occasion ;  and  it  is  highly  amusing  to  see  how  artfully 
she  manages  me,  and  with  what  care  she  avoids  speaking  of 
my  supposed  rival  before  my  face ;  I  too  play  my  part  very 
well.  My  little  trees  are  grown  surprisingly ;  Pilois*  is  rais- 
ing their  stately  heads  to  the  clouds.  In  short,  nothing  can 
be  more  beautiful  than  these  walks,  which  you  first  saw 
planted.  You  may  remember  I  once  gave  you  a  little  device 
which  was  thought  very  suitable.  Here  is  a  motto  I  wrote 
the  other  day  upon  a  tree,  which  I  intend  for  my  son,  who  is 
just  returned  from  Candia.  Vago  difama.\  Is  it  not  pretty, 
notwithstanding  its  conciseness  ?  Yesterday  I  had  another 
inscribed  in  honor  of  the  idlers,  Bella  cosafar  niente!\  Ah  ! 
my  dear  child,  what  a  wild  romantic  air  my  letters  have ! 
What  is  become  of  the  time  when  I  used  to  talk  of  Paris  like 
other  people  \  Now  you  will  hear  of  nothing  but  myself;  and, 
to  show  you  what  confidence  I  have  in  your  affection,  I  am 

*  The  gardener  at  the  Roeks.  f  Anxious  for  fame. 

%  "What  a  fine  thing  it  is  to  do  nothing. 


50  LETTERS    TO 

persuaded  this  will  be  the  most  agreeable  intelligence  I  can 
give  you.  I  am  highly  pleased  with  my  company  here.  Our 
abbe  is  at  all  times  an  excellent  companion.  La  Mousse  and 
my  son  are  satisfied  with  me,  and  I  with  them.  We  always 
seek  one  another ;  and  if  business  at  any  time  takes  me  from 
them,  they  are  at  their  wit's  end,  and  think  it  very  odd  in  me 
to  prefer  a  farmer's  account  to  a  tale  of  La  Fontaine's.  They 
are  all  passionately  in  love  with  you.  I  fancy  you  will  hear 
from  them  soon.  I  choose  however  to  be  beforehand  with 
them,  for  I  do  not  love  talking  to  you  in  a  crowd.  My  dear- 
est child,  will  you  always  love  me  ?  my  life  depends  upon 
your  affection  !  That,  as  I  told  you  the  other  day,  constitutes 
all  my  joy  and  all  my  sorrow. 


The  Eocks,  Wednesday,  June  10,  16T1. 
I  am  going  to  entertain  you  to-day,  my  dear  child,  with 
what  is  called  rain  and  fine  weather.  I  had  not  your  letters 
till  Friday,  and  I  answered  them  the  Sunday  following.  I 
begin  then  with  the  rain,  for  fair  weather  is  out  of  the  ques- 
tion. For  this  week  past  it  has  rained  incessantly  ;  I  say  in- 
cessantly— for  the  rain  has  only  been  interrupted  by  storms. 
I  can  not  stir  abroad,  my  workmen  are  all  dispersed,  and  I  am 
devoured  with  melancholy ;  La  Mousse,  too,  is  very  low-spirited. 
We  read,  indeed,  and  that  just  keeps  us  alive.  My  son  is 
gone  to  Rennes,  whither  we  thought  it  necessary  to  send  him, 
to  pay  a  visit  to  the  first  president,  and  several  other  friends 
that  I  have  there ;  if  he  has  time,  I  shall  prevail  on  him  to  go 
and  see  Monsieur  de  Coesquen ;  he  is  old  enough  now  for 
these  things.  There  was  a  ball  at  Vitre  again  on  Sunday.  I 
very  much  fear  that  my  son  will  become  too  fond  of  the  com- 
pany of  ten  or  a  dozen  men  that  supped  with  him  the  other 
night  at  the  castle  of  Sevigne ;  they  may  be  borne  with,  but 
he  should  be  very  cautious  of  forming  too  great  an  intimacy 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  51 

with  them.  A  dispute  arose  between  two  of  the  party  about 
some  trifle  or  other ;  the  lie  was  given ;  to  it  they  went ;  the 
company  endeavored  to  part  them ;  there  was  a  great  deal  of 
talk  and  very  little  sense ;  however,  monsieur  le  marquis*  had 
the  honor  of  making  up  the  difference,  and  afterward  set  out 
for  Rennes.  There  have  been  great  cabals  at  Vitre  :  Made- 
moiselle de  Croqueoison  complains  that,  at  a  ball  the  other  day, 
Mademoiselle  du  Cerni  did  not  offer  her  part  of  some  oranges 
she  had.  We  must  hear  what  Mademoiselle  du  Plessis  and 
the  Launayes  have  to  say  on  this  subject,  as  they  know  all  the 
circumstances  relating  to  it.  As  to  Mademoiselle  du  Plessis, 
she  lets  all  her  affairs  at  Vitre  run  to  ruin,  because  she  wTill 
not  stir  in  them,  from  the  fear  of  making  me  jealous  on  ac- 
count of  her  new  friend ;  and  it  was  but  the  other  day  that,  to 
make  me  quite  easy,  she  said  as  many  ill-natured  things  of 
her  as  she  could.  When  it  is  fine  weather,  this  nonsense 
makes  me  laugh,  but  when  it  is  bad  and  gloomy,  I  could  give 
her  a  box  on  the  ear,  as  you  once  did.  Madame  de  Coulanges 
writes  me  word  that  she  has  heard  nothing  of  Brancas,  except 
that  out  of  his  six  coach-horses  he  has  only  one  left,  and  that 
he  was  the  last  person  to  discover  it.  I  hear  no  news.  Our 
little  Alegre  is  at  her  mother's,  and  it  is  thought  that  M.  de 
Seignelai  is  to  be  married  to  her.  I  suppose  you  are  in  want 
of  persons  to  furnish  you  with  intelligence ;  for  my  part,  I 
despise  trivial  occurrences ;  I  am  only  for  those  that  surprise 
and  astonish  ;  such  a  one  I  met  with  this  very  morning  while 
the  abbe  and  I  were  in  his  study  together.  We  found,  in 
reckoning  with  those  counters  of  his  which  are  so  good,  that 
with  all  that  has  fallen  to  me,  I  ought  to  be  worth  530,000 
livres.f  Do  you  know  that  what  our  dear  abbe  has  left  me 
will  not  amount  to  less  than  80,000  francs  ?  And  do  you 
think  I  am  not  impatient  to  be  in  possession  ?  And  100,000 
francs  from  Burgundy ;  this  has  come  since  you  were  married, 
the  rest,  viz.:    100,000    crowns  by  my  marriage;    100,000 

*  Meaning  her  son,  the  Marquis  of  Sevigne. 

f  Upward  of  20,000Z.  sterling,  reckoning  a  livre  at  lOd.  halfpenny. 

52  LETTERS    TO 

crowns  since  by  M.  de  Chalons,  and  20,000  francs,  in  little 
legacies,  from  one  or  two  of  my  uncles ;  but  do  you  not  won- 
der whither  my  pen  is  running  with  me  ?  I  should  do  much 
better  to  tell  you  what  I  suffer  every  day,  when  I  reflect  in 
what  places  Providence  has  destined  us  to  pass  our  lives. 
This  is  a  continual  source  of  uneasiness  to  me,  but  let  it  not 
be  so  to  you  ;  you  have  not  the  same  reason ;  you  are  with  a 
husband  that  adores  you,  and  in  the  midst  of  honors  and 
splendor ;  but  endeavor,  if  possible,  to  work  some  miracle  ia 
your  affairs,  so  that  your  return  to  Paris  may  be  retarded  only 
by  the  duties  of  your  post,  and  not  from  necessity.  It  is  very 
easy  to  talk  thus  ;  I  wish  it  was  as  easily  carried  into  execu- 
tion, and  wishes  are  not  forbidden  us.  They  write  me  word 
that  Madame  de  Valavoire  is  at  Paris,  and  that  she  is  forever 
talking  of  your  beauty,  politeness,  wit,  talents,  and,  in  short, 
of  the  new  he&d-dress  you  have  invented,  which  it  seems  you 
have  executed  in  as  good  a  style  as  if  you  had  been  in  the 
midst  of  the  court.  Madame  de  la  Troche  and  I  have  at  least 
the  honor  of  having  described  it  so  well  as  to  put  you  in  the 
way  of  performing  these  wonders.  She  is  at  Paris  still,  that 
La  Troche.  She  is  going  to  her  own  house  about  the  latter 
end  of  this  month.  As  for  me,  I  do  not  know  what  the  States 
intend  doing;  but  I  fancy  I  shall  run  away  for  fear  of  being 
ruined.  It  is  a  mighty  pretty  thing  to  put  myself  to  the  ex- 
pense of  near  a  thousand  crowns  in  dinners  and  suppers,  and 
all  for  the  honor  of  keeping  a  summer-house  for  M.  and 
Madame  de  Chaulnes,  Madame  de  Rohan,  M.  de  Lavardin, 
aad  half  Brittany,  who,  without  knowing  any  thing  of  me,  will, 
to  be  in  the  fashion,  honor  me  with  their  company.  Well, 
we  shall  see  how  it  will  turn  out.  I  shall  only  regret  leaving 
M.  d'Harrouis  and  this  house,  before  I  have  half  finished  my 
business.  But,  my  dear  child,  the  greatest  inclination  I  have 
at  present  is  to  be  a  little  religious.  I  plague  La  Mousse  about 
it  every  day.  I  belong  neither  to  God  nor  to  the  devil.  I 
am  quite  weary  of  such  a  situation,  though,  between  you  and 
me,  I  look  upon  it  as  the  most  natural  one  in  the  world.    1 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  53 

am  not  the  devil's,  because  I  fear  God,  and  have  at  the  bottom 
a  principle  of  religion ;  then,  on  the  other  hand,  I  am  not  prop- 
erly God's,  because  his  law  appears  hard  and  irksome  to  me, 
and  I  can  not  bring  myself  to  acts  of  self-denial ;  so  that  alto- 
gether I  am  one  of  those  called  lukewarm  Christians,  the 
great  number  of  which  does  not  in  the  least  surprise  me,  for  I 
perfectly  understand  their  sentiments  and  the  reasons  that  in- 
fluence them.  However,  we  are  told  that  this  is  a  state  highly 
displeasing  to  God ;  if  so,  we  must  get  out  of  it.  Alas !  this 
is  the  difficulty.  Was  ever  any  thing  so  mad  as  I  am,  to  be 
thus  eternally  pestering  you  with  my  rhapsodies  ?  My  dear 
child,  /  ask  excuse,  as  they  say  here  ;  but  I  must  chat  with 
you,  it  is  so  truly  delightful  to  me.  Be  sure,  however,  not  to 
return  me  an  answer,  only  let  me  hear  of  your  health,  with  a 
little  spice  of  your  sentiments,  that  I  may  see  that  you  are 
happy,  and  that  you  like  Grignan ;  that  is  all.  Love  me ; 
though  we  have  turned  the  world  into  ridicule,  it  is  natural,  it 
is  good. 


The  Rocks,  Sunday,  June  28,  1611. 
You  have  amply  made  up  to  me  my  late  losses  ;  I  have  re- 
ceived two  letters  from  you  which  have  filled  me  with  trans- 
ports of  joy.  The  pleasure  I  take  in  reading  them  is  beyond 
all  imagination  If  I  have  in  any  way  contributed  to  the  im- 
provement of  your  style,  I  did  it  in  the  thought  I  wa3  labor- 
ing for  the  pleasure  of  others,  not  for  my  own.  But  Provi- 
dence, who  has  seen  fit  to  separate  us  so  often,  and  to  place  us 
at  such  immense  distances  from  each  other,  has  repaid  me  a 
little  for  the  privations  in  the  charms  of  your  correspondence, 
and  still  more  in  the  satisfaction  you  express  in  your  situation, 
and  the  beauty  of  your  castle ;  you  represent  it  to  me  with  an 
air  of  grandeur  and  magnificence  that  enchants  me.  I  once 
saw  a  similar  account  of  it  by  the  first  Madame  de  Grignan ; 

54  LETTERS    TO 

but  I  little  thought,  at  that  time,  that  all  these  beauties  were 
one  day  to  be  at  your  command.  I  am  very  much  obliged  to 
you  for  having  given  me  so  particular  an  account  of  it.  If  I 
could  be  tired  in  reading  your  letters,  it  would  not  only  be- 
tray a  very  bad  taste  in  me,  but  would  likewise  show  that  I 
could  have  very  little  love  or  friendship  for  you.  Divest  your- 
self of  the  dislike  you  have  taken  to  circumstantial  details. 
I  have  often  told  you,  and  you  ought  yourself  to  feel  the  truth 
of  this  remark,  that  they  are  as  dear  to  us  from  those  we  love, 
as  they  are  tedious  and  disagreeable  from  others.  If  they  are 
displeasing  to  us,  it  is  only  from  the  indifference  we  feel  for 
those  who  write  them.  Admitting  this  observation  to  be  true, 
I  leave  you  to  judge  what  pleasure  yours  afford  me.  It  is  a  fine 
thing,  truly,  to  play  the  great  lady,  as  you  do  at  present.  I 
perfectly  comprehend  Monsieur  de  Grignan's  feelings  in  seeing 
you  so  much  admire  his  castle ;  had  you  appeared  insensible, 
or  even  indifferent,  on  the  occasion,  it  would  have  given  him 
a  chagrin  that  I  can  conceive  better  perhaps  than  any  other  ; 
and  I  share  in  the  pleasure  he  has  in  seeing  you  pleased. 
There  are  some  hearts  which  sympathize  for  each  other  so 
truly,  that  they  judge  by  themselves  what  others  feel.  You 
do  not  mention  Vardes*  often  enough  to  me,  nor  poor  Cor- 
binelli.     Was  it  not  very  agreeable  to  you  to  be  able  to  speak 

their  language  ?    How  goes  on  Vardes'  love  for  the  fair  T ? 

Tell  me  whether  he  is  much  hurt  by  the  infinite  length  of 
his  banishment,  or  whether  his  philosophy,  and  a  little  dash  of 
misanthropy,  can  support  his  heart  against  these  vicissitudes 
of  love  and  fortune.  The  books  you  read  are  well  chosen. 
Petrarch  must  certainly  give  you  a  good  deal  of  pleasure,  es- 
pecially with  the  notes  you  have.  Those  of  Mademoiselle  de 
Scuderi  on  some  of  his  sonnets,  rendered  them  very  agreeable. 
As  for  Tacitus,  you  know  how  much  I  was  charmed  with  it,  when 
we  read  it  together  here  ;  and  how  often  I  used  to  interrupt 

*  The  Marquis  de  Yardes  was  banished  to  Provence  in  1665,  for 
having  been  concerned  in  some  court  intrigues,  and  remained  in  exile 
till  the  year  1682.     He  was  a  man  of  amiable  manners. 

MADAME    DE     GRIQNAN.  55 

you,  to  make  you  observe  the  periods,  where  I  thought  the 
harmony  particularly  striking.  But  if  you  stop  half  way  I 
shall  scold  you ;  it  will  be  doing  great  injustice  to  the  dignity 
of  the  subject,  and  I  shall  say  to  you,  as  a  certain  prelate  did 
to  the  queen  mother,  "  This  is  history ;  you  know  what  stories 
are  already."  A  reluctance,  in  this  respect,  is  only  pardona- 
ble in  romances,  which  I  know  you  do  not  like.  We  read 
Tasso  with  pleasure,  and  I  am  a  pretty  good  proficient  in  the 
language,  from  the  excellent  masters  I  have  had.  My  son 
makes  La  Mousse  read  Cleopatra,*  and  I  listen  to  him, 
whether  I  will  or  not,  and  am  amused.  My  son  is  going  to 
Lorraine ;  we  shall  be  very  dull  in  his  absence.  You  know 
how  it  vexes  me  to  see  the  breaking  up  of  an  agreeable  party, 
and  how  transported  I  am  when  I  see  a  train  of  carriages 
driving  off  that  have  wearied  me  to  death  for  a  whole  day  ; 
upon  which  we  made  this  just  observation,  that  bad  company 
is  more  desirable  than  good.  I  recollect  all  the  odd  things 
we  used  to  say  when  you  were  here,  and  all  you  said  yourself, 
and  all  you  did  ;  your  idea  never  leaves  me  ;  and  then  again, 
on  a  sudden,  I  think  where  you  are ;  my  imagination  repre- 
sents to  me  an  immense  space,  and  a  great  distance ;  on  a 
sudden  your  castle  bounds  the  prospect,  and  I  am  displeased 
at  the  walls  that  inclose  your  mall.  Ours  is  surprisingly 
beautiful,  and  the  young  nursery  is  delightful.  I  take  pleas- 
ure in  rearing  their  little  heads  to  the  clouds,  and  frequently, 
without  considering  consequences  or  my  own  interest,  cut 
down  large  trees,  because  their  shade  incommodes  my  young 
ones.  My  son  views  all  these  proceedings,  but  I  do  not  allow 
him  to  interfere.  Piloisf  continues  to  be  a  very  great  favorite 
with  me,  and  I  prefer  his  conversation  to  that  of  many  who 
have  the  title  of  chevalier  in  the  parliament  of  Rennes.  I  am 
grown  rather  more  negligent  than  you  ;  for  the  other  day  I 
let  a  coachful  of  the  Fouesnelle  family  go  home  through  a  tre- 
mendous rain,  for  want  of  pressing  them  with  a  good  grace  to 

*  A  famous  romance  of  La  Calprenede's.         f  The  gardener. 

56  LE  TIERS     TO 

stay ;  but  I  could  not  get  the  compliment  to  pass  my  lips.  It 
was  not  the  two  young  women,  but  the  mother,  and  an  old 
woman  from  Kennes,  and  the  two  sons.  Mademoiselle  du 
Plessis  is  exactly  as  you  represent  her,  only  if  possible,  more 
impertinent.  What  she  says  and  does  every  day  to  keep  me 
from  being  jealous,  is  perfectly  original,  and  I  am  quite  pro- 
voked, sometimes,  that  I  have  nobody  to  laugh  at  it  with  me. 
Her  sister-in-law  is  very  pretty,  without  being  ridiculous,  and 
speaks  Gascon  in  the  midst  of  Brittany.  I  think  you  are  very 
happy  in  having  Madame  de  Simiane*  with  you ;  she  has  a 
fund  of  knowledge  that  will  relieve  you  from  all  kinds  of  re- 
straint; this  is  a  great  deal.  You  will  have,  too,  a  very 
agreeable  companion  in  her. 

I  now  return  to  you,  that  is,  to  the  divine  fountain  of  Vau- 
cluse !  How  beautiful !  Well  might  Petrarch  make  such 
frequent  mention  of  it !  But,  remember,  I  shall  some  day 
see  all  these  wonders  with  my  own  eyes  ;  I,  who  have  such  a 
veneration  for  antiquities.  I  shall  certainly  be  transported 
with  them,  and  the  magnificence  of  Grignan.  The  abbe  will 
find  employment  enough  there.  After  the  Doric  orders  and 
splendid  titles  of  your  house,  nothing  is  wanting  but  the  or- 
der you  are  going  to  establish  there ;  for,  let  me  tell  you, 
without  something  substantial  at  the  bottom,  all  is  bitter- 
ness and  anxiety.  I  have  great  pity  for  those  who  ruin 
themselves ;  it  is  the  only  affliction  in  life  that  is  felt  alike 
by  all,  and  which  is  increased,  instead  of  being  diminished, 
by  time.  I  have  frequent  conversations  on  this  subject  with 
a  certain  friend  of  ours.  If  he  has  a  mind  to  benefit  by 
them,  he  has  had  opportunity  enough  to  lay  in  a  good  stock, 
and  of  such  a  nature  he  need  not  forget  them.  I  am  glad 
that  you  are  to  have  two  of  your  brothers-in-law  with  you 
this  autumn.  I  think  you  have  planned  your  journey  well. 
We  can  travel  a  great  way  without  being  fatigued,  provided 
we  have  something  to  amuse  us  by  the  way,  and  do  not  lose 

*  Magdelen  Hai-du-Chatelet,   wife  to   Charles    Louis,   Marquis    of 
p*oiiane;  she  was  afterward  mother-in-law  to  Paulina  de  Grignan. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  57 

our  courage.  The  return  of  fine  weather  has  brought  all  my 
workmen  back  again,  which  is  a  great  amusement  to  me. 
When  I  have  company,  I  work  at  that  fine  altar-piece  you 
saw  me  drawing  when  you  were  at  Paris ;  when  I  am  alone, 
I  read,  I  write,  or  am  with  the  abbe  in  his  closet  upon  busi- 
ness. I  wish  him  with  you  sometimes,  but  it  is  for  two  or 
three  days  only. 

I  consent  to  the  commerce  of  wit  which  you  propose.  The 
other  day  I  made  a  maxim  off-hand,  without  once  thinking  of 
it,  aud  I  liked  it  so  well  that  I  fancied  I  had  taken  it  out  of 
M.  de  la  Rochefoucault's.  Pray  tell  me  whether  it  is  so  or 
not,  for  in  that  case  my  memory  is  more  to  be  praised  than 
iny  judgment.  I  said,  with  all  the  ease  in  the  world,  that 
"  ingratitude  begets  reproach,  as  acknowledgment  begets  new 
favors."  Pray  where  did  this  come  from  ?  Have  I  read  it  ? 
did  I  dream  it  \  is  it  my  own  idea  ?  Nothing  can  be  truer 
than  the  thing  itself,  nor  than  that  I  am  totally  ignorant  how 
I  came  by  it.  I  found  it  properly  arranged  in  my  brain,  and 
at  the  end  of  my  tongue.  As  for  that  sentence,  "  bella  cosa 
far  niente"  you  will  not  think  it  so  dull  when  I  tell  you  it  is 
intended  for  your  brother :  remember  last  winter's  disaster. 
Adieu,  my  dearest  child ;  take  care  of  yourself,  continue 
handsome,  dress  well,  amuse  yourself,  and  take  proper  exer- 
cise. I  have  just  been  writing  to  Vivonne,*  about  a  captain 
of  a  troop  of  Bohemians,  whose  confinement  I  have  begged 
him  to  render  as  easy  as  possible,  without  detriment  to  the 
king's  service.  You  must  know  that  there  was  among  the 
troop  of  Bohemiansf  that  I  was  mentioning  to  you  the  other 
day,  a  young  girl  who  danced  extremely  well,  and  put  me 
very  much  in  mind  of  your  manner.  I  was  pleased  with  her. 
She  begged  me  to  write  to  Provence  in  favo"  of  her  grand- 
father. "  Where  is  he  ?"  said  I.  "  He  is  at  Ma"seilles,"  said 
she,  with  as  much  composure  and  unconcern  as  if  she  bad 
said,  "  He  is    at  Vincennes."     He  was   a  man  of  singular 

*  General  of  the  galleys.  f  Gipseys. 


58  LETTERS     TO 

merit,  it  seems,  in  his  way  ;*  in  short,  I  promised  her  to  write 
about  him  ;  I  immediately  thought  of  Vivonne.  I  send  you 
my  letter ;  if  you  are  not  sufficiently  upon  terms  with  him 
to  allow  of  my  jesting  with  him,  you  may  burn  it ;  if  it  is  an 
ill- written  letter  you  may  burn  it ;  but  if  you  are  friendly 
with  his  corpulency,  and  my  letter  will  save  you  the  trouble 
of  writing  one,  seal  it  and  send  it  to  him.  I  could  not  refuse 
this  request  to  the  poor  girl,  and  to  the  best-danced  minuet 
that  I  have  seen  since  the  days  of  Mademoiselle  de  Sevigne. 
She  had  just  your  air,  was  about  your  height,  has  good  teeth, 
and  fine  eyes.  Here  is  a  letter  of  so  enormous  a  length  that 
I  can  easily  forgive  your  not  reading  it  through.  Monsieur 
de  Grignan  can  not  conceive  how  one  can  possibly  read  such 
long  letters ;  but,  in  good  earnest,  can  you  read  them  in  a 


The  Books,  Sunday,  July  5,  1671. 
It  is  a  great  proof  of  your  love,  my  dear  child,  that  you 
can  bear  with  all  the  nonsense  I  send  you  from  hence.  You 
defend  Mademoiselle  de  Croqueoison  extremely  well.  In  re- 
turn, I  assure  you  there  is  not  a  single  word  in  your  letters 
that  is  not  dear  to  me.  I  am  afraid  to  read  them  for  fear  of 
ending  them,  and  if  it  were  not  for  the  consolation  that  I  can 
read  them  over  as  often  as  I  please,  I  should  make  them  last 
much  longer ;  but  then,  on  the  other  hand,  my  impatience 
makes  me  ready  to  devour  them.  What  should  I  do  if  your 
writing  was  as  illegible  as  D'Hacqueville's  ?  Would  the 
greatness  of  my  affection  help  me  to  decipher  it  ?  Really,  I 
am  afraid  not ;  but  I  have  heard  of  such  instances.  In  short, 
I  greatly  esteem  D'Hacqueville,  and  yet  I  can  not  accustom 
myself  to  his  handwriting ;  I  never  can  read   his  letters  ;   I 

*  And  had  been  condemned  to  the  galleys  for  having  distinguished 
himself  rather  too  much  in  his  Bohemian  faculty. 


hunt  out  word  by  word ;  I  puzzle  myself  with  guessing  at 
them ;  I  say  one  word  for  another,  and  at  last,  when  I  can 
make  neither  head  nor  tail  of  it,  away  I  fling  the  letter  in  a 
rage.  But  I  tell  you  this  as  a  secret,  for  I  would  not  have 
him  know  that  his  letters  give  me  all  this  trouble.  He  thinks, 
poor  man,  his  hand  is  like  print ;  but  you,  who  know  the  con- 
trary, tell  me  how  you  manage.  My  son  set  out  yesterday, 
greatly  concerned  at  parting  with  us.  I  endeavored  to  in- 
spire him  with  every  good,  just,  and  noble  sentiment  that  I 
was  mistress  of,  and  to  confirm  all  the  good  qualities  I  had 
remarked  in  him.  He  received  my  advice  with  all  imagina- 
ble sweetness  and  marks  of  approbation ;  but  you  know  the 
weakness  of  human  nature ;  I  leave  him,  therefore,  in  the 
hands  of  Providence,  reserving  to  myself  the  comfort  of  hav- 
ing nothing  to  reproach  myself  with  in  regard  to  him.  As 
he  has  a  fund  of  wit  and  humor,  we  shall  necessarily  miss 
him  extremely.  We  are  going  to  begin  a  moral  treatise  of 
Nicole's.  If  I  were  at  Paris  I  would  send  it  to  you  ;  I  am 
sure  you  would  admire  it.  We  continue  to  read  Tasso  with 
pleasure.  I  am  almost  afraid  to  tell  you  that  I  am  returned 
to  Cleopatra ;  and,  by  good  fortune,  the  short  memory  I  have 
makes  it  still  pleasing  to  me.  I  have  a  bad  taste,  you  will 
say ;  but  you  know  I  can  not  affect  a  prudery  which  is  not 
natural  to  me,  and  as  I  am  not  yet  arrived  at  a-  time  of  life 
that  forbids  the  reading  such  works,  I  suffer  myself  to  be 
amused  with  them,  under  the  pretense  that  my  son  brought 
me  into  it.  He  used  to  read  us  some  chapters,  too,  out  of 
Rabelais,  which  were  enough  to  make  us  die  with  laughing ; 
in  return,  he  seemed  to  take  a  good  deal  of  pleasure  in  talk- 
ing with  me  ;  and,  if  he  is  to  be  believed,  he  will  remember 
what  I  have  said  to  him.  I  know  him  well,  and  can  often 
discern  good  sentiments  through  all  the  levity  of  his  conver- 
sation. If  he  is  dismissed  this  autumn,  we  shall  have  him 

I  have  mentioned  Launaye  to  you ;  she  was  bedaubed  the 
other  day  like  a  twelfth-day  taper ;  we  thought  she  resembled 

60  LETTERS     TO 

the  second  volume  of  a  sorry  romance,  or  the  Romance  of  the 
Rose,  exactly.  Mademoiselle  du  Plessis  is  always  at  my 
elbow ;  when  I  read  the  kind  things  you  say  of  her,  I  am  as 
red  as  fire.  The  other  day  La  Biglesse  played  Tartuffe  to  the 
life.  Being  at  table,  she  happened  to  tell  a  fib  about  some 
trifle  or  other,  which  I  noticed,  and  told  her  of  it ;  she  cast 
her  eyes  to  the  ground,  and  with  a  very  demure  air,  "  Yes,  in- 
deed, madam,"  said  she,  "  I  am  the  greatest  liar  in  the  world ; 
I  am  very  much  obliged  to  you  for  telling  me  of  it."  We  all 
burst  out  a-laughing,  for  it  was  exactly  the  tone  of  Tartuffe  : 
"  Yes,  brother,  I  am  a  wretch,  a  vessel  of  iniquity."  She  at- 
tempts sometimes  to  be  sententious,  and  gives  herself  airs  of 
understanding  which  sit  still  worse  upon  her  than  her  own 
natural  way.  There !  I  think  you  know  every  thing  about 
the  Rocks. 


The  Rocks,  Sunday,  July  12,  1671. 
I  have  received  but  one  letter  from  you,  my  dear  child, 
which  vexes  me ;  I  used  generally  to  have  two.  It  is  a  bad 
thing  to  use  one's  self  to  such  dear  and  tender  cares  as  yours ; 
there,  is  no  being  happy  without  them.  If  M.  de  Grignan's 
brothers  come  to  you  this  summer,  they  will  be  good  company 
for  you.  The  coadjutor  has  been  a  little  indisposed,  but  is 
now  perfectly  recovered ;  he  is  incredibly  lazy,  and  is  the 
more  to  blame,  as  he  can  write  extremely  well  when  he  sets 
about  it.  He  has  a  great  regard  for  you,  and  intends  visiting 
you  about  the  middle  of  August — he  can  not  before.  He  pro- 
tests, but  I  believe  it  is  false,  that  he  has  no  branch  to  rest 
upon,  which  hinders  him  from  writing,  and  makes  his  eyes 
ache.  This  is  all  I  know  about  Seigneur  Corbeau.  How  odd 
it  is  of  me  to  tell  you  all  this,  when  I  do  not  know  myself 
how  I  stand  with  him !  If  you  should  know  any  thing  of  the 
matter,  pray  inform  me.     I  reflect  every  hour  of  the  day  upon 

MADAME     DE     GRIGNAN.  61 

the  times  when  I  used  to  see  you  always  about  me,  and  am 
perpetually  regretting  the  loss  of  those  happy  moments.  Not 
that  I  can  reproach  my  heart  with  having  been  insensible  of 
the  pleasure  of  your  company  ;  for  I  solemnly  protest  to  you, 
I  never  looked  on  you  with  the  indifference  or  coolness  that 
grows  upon  long  acquaintance  ;  no,  I  can  not  reproach  myself 
with  that.  What  I  regret  is,  that  I  did  not  see  you  so  con- 
stantly as  I  could  now  wish  I  had,  but  suffered  cruel  business 
sometimes  to  tear  me  from  you.  It  would  be  a  fine  thing  to 
fill  my  letters  with  what  fills  my  heart ;  alas !  as  you  say,  we 
should  glide  over  many  thoughts,  without  seeming  to  regard 
them.  Here  then  I  rest,  and  conjure  you,  if  I  am  at  all  dear 
to  you,  to  be  particularly  careful  of  your  health.  Amuse 
yourself,  do  not  study  too  much,  carry  yourself  safely  through 
your  pregnancy  ;  after  that,  if  M.  de  Grignan  really  loves  you, 
and  is  resolved  not  to  kill  you  outright,  I  know  what  he  will 
do,  or  rather  what  he  will  not  do. 

Have  you  cruelty  enough  not  to  finish  Tacitus  ?  Can  you 
leave  Germanieus  in  the  midst  of  his  conquests?  If  you 
really  intend  to  serve  him  so  paltry  a  trick,  let  me  know  where 
you  leave  off,  and  I  will  finish  for  you,  which  is  all  I  can  do 
to  serve  you  at  present.  We  have  gone  through  Tasso,  and 
with  a  great  deal  of  pleasure ;  we  found  beauties  in  him,  that 
are  unknown  to  those  who  are  only  half  read  in  the  language. 
We  have  begun  our  morality*  it  is  of  much  the  same  nature 
as  Pascal's.  Talking  of  Pascal,  I  have  taken  into  my  head  to 
almost  adore  those  gentlemen,  the  postillions  who  are  inces- 
santly carrying  our  letters  backward  and  forward.  There  is 
not  a  day  in  the  week,  but  they  bring  one  either  to  you  or  to 
me  ;  there  is  one  every  day,  and  every  hour  of  the  day,  upon 
the  road.  Kind-hearted  people,  how  obliging  it  is  of  them  ! 
What  a  charming  invention  is  the  post,  and  what  a  happy 
effect  of  Providence  is  the  desire  of  gain !  I  sometimes  think 
of  writing  to  them  co  show  my  gratitude ;  and  I  believe  I 
should  have  done  it  before,  had  I  not  remembered  that  chap- 

*  M.  Nicole's  Moral  Essays. 

62  LETTERS    TO 

ter  in  Pascal,  and  been  afraid  that  they  might  have  perhaps 
thought  proper  to  thank  me  for  writing  to  them,  as  I  thanked 
them  for  carrying  my  letters.     Here  is  a  fine  digression  for 
you.     But  to  return  to  our  reading.     It  was  without  preju- 
dice to  Cleopatra  that  I  laid  a  wager  I  would  read  it  through ; 
you  know  how  I  support  my  wagers.     I  often  wonder  how  I 
could  like  such  ridiculous  stuff;  I  can  hardly  comprehend  it. 
You  may  perhaps  remember  enough  of  me  to  know  how  much 
a  bad  style  displeases  me  ;  that  I  have  some  taste  for  a  good 
one,  and  that  no  person  is  more  sensible  to  the  charms  of  elo- 
quence.    I  well  know  how  wretched  La  Calprenedre's  style  is 
in  many  places,  on  account  of  its  long-winded  periods,  and 
bad  choice  of  words.     I  wrote  a  letter  to  your  brother  in  that 
style  the  other  day,  which  was  pleasant  enough.     However, 
though  I  find  such  glaring  faults  in  Calprenedre,  though  I 
know  how  detestable  that  way  of  writing  is,  yet  I  can  not  leave 
it.     The  beauty  of  the  sentiments,  the  violence  of  the  passions, 
and  the  miraculous  success  of  their  redoubtable  swords,  en- 
tices me  away  like  a  child ;  I  become  a  party  in  all  their  designs, 
and  if  I  had  not  the  example  of  M.  de  la  Rochefoucault  and 
D'Hacqueville  to  comfort  me,  I  should  be  ready  to  hang  my- 
self for  being  guilty  of  such  a  weakness.     You  appear  before 
me,  and  cry  "  Shame !"  yet  still  I  go  on.     I  shall  have  great 
honor  in  being  intrusted  by  you  with  the  care  of  preserving 
you  in  the  abbe's  friendship.     He  loves  you  tenderly ;  you  are 
often  the  subject  of  our  conversation,  with  your  state,  your 
grandeur,  and  so  forth.     He  would  not  willingly  die  without 
having  first  taken  a  trip  to  Provence,  and  rendered  you  some 
service.     I  am  told,  that  poor  Madame  de  Monti uet  is  on  the 
point  of  losing  her  senses  ;  she  has  been  raving  hitherto  with- 
out once  shedding  a  tear,  but  now  she  has  a  violent  fever,  and 
begins  to  cry.     She  says  she  will  be  damned,  since  her  dear 
husband  is  inevitably  so.     We  go  on  with  our  chapel.     The 
weather  is  very  hot ;  but  the  mornings  and  evenings  are  de- 
lightful in  the  woods,  and  under  the  shade  of  the  trees  before 
the  house.    My  apartment  is  extremely  cool.     I  am  afraid  you 
suffer  from  the  heat  in  Provence. 



The  Rocks,  "Wednesday,  August  19,  1671. 
You  describe  very  humorously  the  disorder  my  perfumed 
paper  occasioned  you.  Those  who  saw  you  read  my  letters 
must  have  thought  I  was  dead,  and  could  never  imagine  that 
they  contained  nothing  but  chit-chat.  I  am  very  far  from 
correcting  myself  in  the  way  you  imagined.  I  shall  always 
run  into  extremes  in  what  is  for  your  good,  if  it  depends  on 
me.  I  already  began  to  think  that  my  paper  might  do  you 
harm,  but  I  did  not  intend  to  change  it  till  about  November. 
However,  I  begin  from  this  day,  and  for  the  future  you  will 
have  nothing  to  guard  against  but  the  smell. 

You  have  a  tolerable  number  of  the  Grignans  with  you ; 
the  Lord  deliver  you  from  the  aunt,*  I  feel  her  troublesome 
even  here.  The  chevalier's  sleeves  must  have  had  a  curious 
effect  at  table ;  but  though  they  draw  every  thing  along  with 
them,  I  much  question  whether  they  would  draw  me  ;  fond  as 
I  am  of  fashion,  I  have  a  great  aversion  to  slovenliness.  Vitre 
would  be  a  famous  place  for  bim.  I  think  I  never  saw  such 
profusion  before.  There  is  not  a  table  at  court  that  can  come 
up  to  the  meanest  of  the  twelve  or  fifteen  that  are  constantly 
kept  up  here ;  and,  indeed,  there  is  occasion  for  all  this,  for 
there  are  no  less  than  three  hundred  people  to  be  provided  for, 
Ho  have  nowhere  else  to  eat.  I  left  this  good  town  last  Mon- 
day, after  having  made  your  compliments  to  Mme.  de  Chaulnes 
and  Mme.  de  Murinais.  Nothing  could  be  more  cordially  re- 
ceived, or  more  warmly  returned.  All  Brittany  was  drunk  on 
that  day.  "We  dined  apart.  Forty  gentlemen  dined  in  a  lower 
room,  each  of  whom  drank  forty  toasts ;  the  king's  was  the  first, 
and  then  the  glasses  were  broken.  All  this  was  done  under  pre- 
tense of  extreme  joy  and  gratitude  for  a  hundred  thousand 
crowns  which  his  majesty  had  remitted  out  of  the  free  gift  the 
province  had  made  him,  as  a  recompense  for  their  having  so 

*  Ann  d'Ornano,  Countess  of  Harcourt,  aunt  to  M.  de  Grignan. 

64  LETTERS    TO 

cheerfully  complied  with  his  request.  So  now  there  is  only 
two  millions  two  hundred  thousand  livres,  instead  of  five 
hundred  thousand.  The  king,  too,  has  written  a  letter  with 
his  own  hand,  full  of  the  kindest  expressions  to  his  good  prov- 
ince of  Britany.  This  letter  the  governor  read  to  the  States 
assembled,  and  a  copy  of  it  was  registered.  Upon  this  they 
shouted  Vive  le  roi !  and  immediately  fell  to  drinking ;  and 
drink  they  did,  God  knows !  M.  de  Chaulnes  did  not  for- 
get the  gouvernante  of  Provence ;  and  a  Breton  gentleman 
going  to  toast  you  by  your  name,  and  not  well  remembering 
it,  got  up,  and,  in  a  loud  voice,  exclaimed,  "  Here  is  to  Madame 
de  Carignan?  This  ridiculous  mistake  made  M.  de  Chaulnes 
laugh  till  the  tears  came  into  his  eyes.  The  Bretons  drank 
it,  thinking  it  was  right ;  and,  for  a  week  to  come,  you  will  be 
nothing  but  Madame  de  Carignan ;  some  called  you  the  Coun- 
tess of  Carignan.  This  was  the  state  of  things  when  I  left 

I  have  shown  Pomenars  what  you  say  of  him.  He  is  highly 
delighted  with  it ;  but  I  assure  you  he  is  so  hardened  and  im- 
pudent, that  once  or  twice  in  a  day  he  makes  the  first  presi- 
dent leave  the  room,  to  whom  he  is  a  mortal  enemy,  as  well 
as  to  the  procurator-general.  Madame  de  Coetquen  had  just 
received  the  news  of  the  death  of  her  little  girl,  and  fainted 
away.  She  is  in  great  affliction,  and  says  she  shall  never  have 
so  pretty  a  one.  Her  husband  is  quite  inconsolable  ;  he  is 
just  returned  from  Paris,  after  having  made  matters  up  wTith 
Le  Bordage.  This  was  a  most  extraordinary  affair ;  he  has 
transferred  all  his  resentments  to  M.  de  Turenne  *  I  suppose 
you  know  nothing  of  this,  but  it  fell  unintentionally  from  my 
pen.  There  was  a  pretty  ball  on  Sunday.  We  saw  a  girl  of 
Lower  Brittany  who,  they  said,  bore  away  the  palm.  She  was 
the  most  ridiculous  creature  I  ever  saw,  and  threw  herself  into 
such  attitudes  as  made  us  die  with  laughing.     But  there  were 

*  Glory,  which  is  the  last  passion  of  the  sage,  was  not  the  only  pas- 
sion of  Turenne ;  for,  at  the  age  of  sixty,  he  was  in  love  with  Madame 
de  Coetquen. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN,  65 

other  dancers,  both  men  and  women,  that  were  really  admir- 

If  you  ask  me  how  I  like  my  Rocks  after  all  this  hurry,  I 
shall  tell  you  that  I  am  delighted  to  be  here  again.  I  shall 
stay  for  a  week  or  ten  days  at  least,  in  spite  of  their  endeavors 
to  get  me  back.  I  want  rest  more  than  I  can  describe  to  you. 
I  want  to  sleep  ;  I  want  to  eat,  for  I  am  starved  at  theae  fetes. 
I  want  the  fresh  air ;  I  want  silence,  for  I  was  attacked  on  all 
sides,  and  my  lungs  were  almost  worn  out  with  talking.  In 
short,  my  dear,  I  found  our  abbe,  La  Mousse,  my  dog,  my  mall, 
Philois,  and  my  masons,  all  as  I  left  them,  and  they  are  the 
only  things  that  can  do  me  any  good  in  my  present  condition. 


The  Rocks,  Sunday,  August  23,  1671. 
You  were  with  the  president  of  Charme's  lady,  then,  when 
you  wrote  to  me.  Her  husband  was  the  intimate  friend  of 
Monsieur  Fouquet.  Am  I  right  in  this  ?  In  short,  my 
dear,  you  were  not  alone ;  and  M.  de  Grignan  acted  wisely 
in  making  you  leave  your  closet  to  entertain  your  com- 
pany. He  might,  however,  have  spared  his  capuchin's  beard, 
though  he  did  not  appear  much  the  worse  for  it  in  your  eyes, 
for  when  he  was  at  Livri,  with  his  bushy  tuft,*  you  thought 
him  handsomer  than  Adonis.  I  often  repeat  these  four  verses 
with  admiration.  It  is  surprising  what  an  impression  the  re- 
membrance of  any  particular  time  makes  upon  the  mind, 
whether  good  or  bad.  Sometimes  I  *hink  of  that  delicious 
autumn  ;  and  then  again,  when  I  reflect  on  the  latter  part  of 
it,  I  sweat  with  horror  ;f  yet  we  ought  to  be  thankful  to  Prov- 
idence, who  delivered  you  out  of  the  danger  you  were  in. 

*  Sa  touffe  ebouriffee.  Part  of  a  lout  rime,  filled  up  by  Madame  de 

f  On  account  of  a  miscarriage  that  Madame  de  Grignan  had  at 
Livri,  the  4th  November,  1669. 

66  LETTERS    TO 

Your  reflections  upon  the  death  of  M.  de  Guise  are  admira- 
ble ;  they  have  made  me  plow  up  my  mall  with  my  eyes ;  for 
it  is  there  I  meditate  with  most  pleasure.  Poor  La  Mousse 
has  been  afflicted  with  the  tooth-ache,  so  that  for  a  long  time 
I  have  walked  alone  till  night,  and  thought  of — God  knows 
what  I  have  not  thought  of.  Do  not  be  under  apprehensions 
of  my  growing  weary  of  solitude  :  set  aside  the  ills  that  arise 
from  my  own  heart,  and  against  which  I  have  not  strength  to 
struggle,  and  I  am  not  to  be  pitied  in  any  respect.  I  am  of  a 
happy  temper ;  I  can  accommodate  myself  to,  and  be  pleased 
with  any  thing  ;  and  I  prefer  my  retirement  here  to  all  the 
noise  and  pageantry  of  Vitre.  I  have  been  here  a  week,  and 
the  tranquillity  I  have  enjoyed  has  cured  me  of  a  dreadful 
cold.  I  have  drank  nothing  but  water ;  have  talked  very  lit- 
tle ;  have  left  off  suppers ;  and  by  this  method,  without  hav- 
ing shortened  my  walks,  I  am  quite  well  again.  Madame  de 
Chaulnes,  Madame  de  Murinais,  Madame  Fourche,  and  a  very 
fine  girl  from  Nantes,  came  here  last  Thursday.  Madame  de 
Chaulnes  told  me,  as  she  came  into  my  room,  that  she  could 
exist  no  longer  without  seeing  me  ;  that  she  had  the  weight 
of  all  Brittany  upon  her  shoulders,  and  should  die  with  fa- 
tigue. She  then  flung  herself  upon  my  bed ;  we  sat  round 
her,  and  she  was  fast  asleep  in  a  minute,  from  mere  fatigue, 
though  we  continued  talking.  At  last  she  awoke,  highly 
charmed  with  the  ease  and  freedom  we  enjoy  at  the  Rocks. 
We  then  took  a  walk.  Afterward  she  and  I  sat  down  to  rest 
ourselves  in  the  center  of  the  wood,  and  while  the  rest  were 
diverting  themselves  at  mall,  I  made  her  tell  me  how  she 
came  to  marry  M.  de  Chaulnes ;  for  I  always  love  to  fish  out 
something  by  way  of  amusement ;  but  in  the  midst  of  our  en- 
tertainment there  came  on  just  so  treacherous  a  shower  like 
the  one  you  may  remember  at  Livri,  that  we  were  nearly 
drowned.  The  water  ran  from  our  clothes  in  streams ;  it 
came  through  the  trees  in  a  moment,  and  we  were  instantly 
wet  to  the  skin.  We  ran  as  fast  as  we  could,  some  scream- 
ing, others  sliding,  others  falling.     At  last  we  got  in,  a  roar- 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN,  67 

ing  fire  was  made,  we  changed  our  dress  from  head  to  foot,  I 
furnishing  the  whole  wardrobe.  We  dried  our  shoes,  and 
were  ready  to  die  with  laughing  all  the  while.  In  this  man- 
ner was  the  gouvernante  of  Brittany  treated  in  her  own  gov- 
ernment. After  this  we  had  a  slight  repast,  and  then  the 
poor  woman  left  us,  more  vexed,  I  dare  say,  at  the  part  she 
had  to  play  when  she  got  home,  than  at  the  affront  she 
had  received  here.  She  made  me  promise  to  relate  this  ad- 
venture to  you,  and  to  come  and  assist  her  to-morrow  in  enter- 
taining the  States,  which  will  break  up  in  about  a  week.  I 
engaged  to  do  both  ;  of  the  one  I  now  acquit  myself,  and  of 
the  other  I  shall  acquit  myself  to-morrow,  as  I  can  not  help 
showing  her  this  civility. 


The  Rocks,  Wednesday,  September  16,  1671. 
I  am  wicked  to-day,  my  child.  I  am  just  in  the  same  hu- 
mor as  when  you  used  to  say,  "  You  are  wicked."  I  am  very 
dull  and  spiritless  :  I  have  not  heard  from  you.  u  Warm  af- 
fections are  never  tranquil ;"  a  maxim.  It  rains  ;  we  are  quite 
alone  ;  in  short,  I  wish  you  a  pleasanter  day  than  I  am  likely 
to  have.  What  greatly  perplexes  the  abbe,  La  Mousse,  and 
the  rest  of  my  party,  is,  that  there  is  no  remedy  for  the  evil. 
I  want  it  to  be  Friday,  that  I  may  have  a  letter  from  you,  and 
it  is  but  Wednesday.  This  puzzles  them.  They  do  not 
know  what  to  do  for  me  in  this  case,  for  if,  in  the  excess  of 
their  friendship,  they  were  to  assure  me  it  was  Friday,  that 
would  be  still  worse  ;  for  if  I  had  not  a  letter  from  you  then, 
I  should  be  lost  to  all  reason.  I  am  obliged  to  have  patience ; 
though  patience,  you  know,  is  a  virtue  that  I  am  not  much  in 
the  habit  of  practising ;  but  I  shall  be  easy  before  three  days 
have  passed.  I  am  very  anxious  to  know  how  you  are  after 
your  alarm.  These  alarms  are  my  aversion  ;  for  though  I  am 
not  with  child  myself,  they  make  me  become  so,  that  is,  they 

68  LETTERS    TO 

put  me  in  a  condition  that  entirely  destroys  my  healthy 
However,  my  uneasiness  does  not  at  present  reach  so  far  ;  for 
I  am  persuaded  you  have  been  prudent  enough  to  keep  your 
bed,  and  that  will  have  set  all  matters  right  again.  Do  not 
tell  me,  that  you  will  not  let  me  know  any  thing  about  your 
health  ;  that  would  make  me  desperate,  and  having  no  longer 
any  confidence  in  what  you  say,  I  should  be  always  in  the 
way  I  am  in  at  present.  We  are,  it  must  be  owned,  at  a  fine 
distance  from  each  other,  and  if  either  of  us  had  any  thing 
upon  the  mind  that  required  immediate  relief,  we  should  have 
plenty  of  time  to  hang  ourselves  in. 

I  thought  it  necessary  yesterday  to  take  a  small  dose  of 
morality,  and  I  found  myself  a  great  deal  the  better  for  it ; 
and  still  more  so  for  a  little  criticism  on  the  Berenice  of  Ra- 
cine, which  I  thought  very  diverting  and  ingenious.  It  is  by 
the  author*  of  the  sylphs,  gnomes,  and  salamanders.  There 
are  a  few  words  which  are  not  quite  so  good  as  they  should 
be,  and  even  unbecoming  a  man  who  knows  the  world ;  these 
grate  the  ear ;  but,  as  they  occur  only  here  and  there,  they 
ought  not  to  prejudice  us  against  the  whole,  which,  I  assure 
you,  upon  examination,  I  found  a  very  well-written  critique. 
As  I  fancied  this  trifle  would  have  diverted  you,  I  heartily 
wished  for  you  by  my  side  in  the  closet,  provided  you  could 
return  again  to  your  magnificent  castle  as  soon  as  you  had 
read  it.  And  yet  I  own  I  should  have  felt  some  pain  in  let- 
ting you  go  so  soon.  I  know  too  well  what  the  last  parting 
cost  me.  It  would  partake  of  the  humor  I  have  just  been 
complaining  of.  I  can  not  think  of  it  even  now  without  shud- 
dering ;  but  you  are  safe  from  this  inconvenience.  I  hope  this 
letter  will  find  you  cheerful ;  if  so,  I  beg  you  will  burn  it 
directly,  for  it  would  be  very  extraordinary  if  it  should  be 
agreeable  to  you,  considering  the  horrid  humor  I  write  it  in. 
It  is  very  happy  for  the  coadjutor  that  I  do  not  answer  his 
letter  to-day. 

I  have  a  great  inclination  to  ask  you  a  thousand  questions 

*  The  A.bbe  Yillars,  author  of  the  Count  de  Gabalis. 

MADAME    DEGRIGNAN.  •      6$. 

by  way  of  finishing  this  performance  worthily.  Have  you 
many  grapes  ?  you  tell  me  only  of  figs.  Is  the  weather  very 
hot  ?  you  do  not  say  a  word  about  it.  Have  you  such  charm- 
ing cattle  as  we  have  at  Paris  ?  Has  your  aunt  D'Harcourt 
been  with  you  long  ?  You  see  .  that,  having  lost  so  many  of 
your  letters,  I  am  quite  ignorant  how  matters  stand,  and  have 
entirely  lost  the  thread  of  your  discourse.  Ah  !  how  I  long 
to  beat  somebody  !  and  how  much  I  should  be  obliged  to  any 
Breton  that  would  come  and  say  something  very  silly,  to  put 
me  in  a  passion  !  You  told  me  the  other  day  that  you  were 
glad  I  was  returned  to  my  solitude  that  I  might  think  of  you. 
Very  pretty  that !  as  if  I  did  not  think  sufficiently  of  you  in 
every  other  place.  Farewell,  my  dear — this  is  the  best  part  of 
my  letter.  I  finish,  because  I  think  I  talk  foolishly,  and  1 
must  preserve  my  credit. 


The  Rocks,  Wednesday,  Sept.  30,  1671. 
I  believe  the  Leonic  opinion  is  now  the  most  ascertained. 
He  understands  the  subject  completely,  can  tell  whether  mat- 
ter reasons  or  not,  what  kind  of  intelligence  God  has  given  to 
the  brute  creation,  with  other  subjects  that  occupied  his 
thoughts.  You  may  perceive  by  this  that  I  suppose  him  in 
heaven,  0  che  spero  /*  He  died  on  Monday  morning  ;  I  was 
then  at  Vitre  and  saw  him,  but  I  wish  I  had  not  seen  him. 
His  brother  seems  inconsolable  ;  I  invited  him  to  my  woods 
that  he  might  weep  at  liberty,  but  he  told  me  he  was  too 
deeply  afflicted  to  seek  consolation.  The  poor  bishop  was 
only  five  and  thirty  years  of  age ;  he  was  well  provided  for, 
and  had  an  admirable  taste  for  science  ;  this  was,  in  fact,  the 
cause  of  his  death,  as  it  was  of  Pascal's — he  wore  himself  out 
with  study.  You  are  not  much  interested  in  this  detail ;  but 
it  is  the  news  of  the  place,  and  you  must,  therefore,  bear  with 

*  0,  how  I  wish  it  1 

70  LETTERS    TO 

it.     Death,  in  my  opinion,  is  the  concern  of  every  one,  and  its 
consequences  strike  home  to  our  bosoms. 

I  read  M.  Nicole  with  a  degree  of  pleasure  that  lifts  me 
above  the  earth.  I  am  particularly  charmed  with  his  third 
treatise  on  the  means  of  preserving  peace  and  harmony  among 
mankind.  Read  it,  I  beseech  you,  and  with  attention ;  you 
will  see  how  clearly  he  develops  the  intricacies  of  the  human 
heart,  in  which  every  sect  is  alike  included — philosophers, 
Jansenists,  Molinists,  in  short,  all  mankind :  this  may  truly  be 
called  searching  to  the  bottom  of  the  heart  with  a  lantern. 
He  discovers  to  us  sensations  that  we  feel  daily,  but  which  we 
have  neither  the  wit  to  comprehend  nor  the  sincerity  to  ac- 
knowledge. In  a  word,  I  never  read  any  thing  like  it,  except 
Pascal.  Were  it  not  for  the  amusement  of  our  books  we 
should  be  moped  to  death  for  want  of  employment.  It  rains 
incessantly.  I  need  say  no  more  to  make  you  conceive  how 
dull  our  situation  is.  But  you  who  enjoy  a  sunshine  which  is 
so  much  the  object  of  my  envy,  how  do  I  pity  you  to  be  torn 
from  Grignan,  while  the  weather  is  delightful,  in  the  middle 
of  autumn,  and  from  an  agreeable  society,  and  all  this  to  be 
shut  up  in  a  little  dirty  town !  I  can  not  bear  the  idea. 
Could  not  M.  de  Grignan  have  put  off  the  assembly  a  little 
longer  ?  Is  he  not  master  in  this  respect  ?  And  poor  Cou- 
langes,  what  will  become  of  him  ?  Our  recluse  mode  of  life 
has  so  turned  our  brains  that  we  make  matters  of  consequence 
of  every  thing.  Receiving  and  answering  letters  takes  up 
some  of  our  time,  indeed,  but  we  have  always  enough  left 
upon  our  hands.  You  make  our  abbe  proud  by  the  kind 
things  you  say  of  him  in  your  letters.  I  am  satisfied  with 
him  on  your  account.  As  for  La  Mousse,  he  catechises  Sun- 
days and  holidays  ;  he  is  resolved  to  go  to  heaven.  I  tell  him 
it  is  only  out  of  curiosity,  to  see  whether  the  sun  is  a  heap  of 
dust,  continually  in  motion,  or  a  globe  of  fire.  The  other  day 
he  assembled  all  the  children  of  the  village  about  him,  and  was 
catechising  them,  but  after  several  questions  they  had  so  con- 
founded things,  that  when  he  asked  them  who  the  Blessed 

MADAME    DE     QBIGNAN.  7l 

Virgin  was,  they  all  with  one  accord  answered,  "  The  Creator 
of  heaven  and  earth."  His  faith  was  not  shaken  by  the  chil- 
dren, but  finding  the  men  and  women,  and  even  the  old  peo- 
ple, all  in  the  same  story,  he  began  to  doubt,  and  at  length 
joined  in  the  opinion  ;  in  short,  he  did  not  know  what  he  was 
about,  and  if  I  had  not  luckily  come  to  his  aid  he  would  never 
have  got  out  of  the  scrape.  This  new  opinion  would  certainly 
have  been  productive  of  more  mischief  than  that  of  the  mo- 
tion of  atoms.  Farewell,  my  dear  child,  you  see  we  tickle 
ourselves  in  order  to  laugh,  to  so  low  an  ebb  are  we  re- 


The  Rocks,  Wednesday,  October,  7,  1671. 
You  know  I  am  always  carried  away  by  what  I  read,  so 
that  it  is  for  the  interest  of  those  I  converse  with,  that  I  should 
read  none  but  the  best  books.  I  can  think  of  nothing  at  pres- 
ent but  M.  Nicole's  Moral  Reflections.  His  treatise  on  the 
means  of  preserving  peace  among  men,  delights  me.  I  never 
met  with  any  thing  so  truly  practical,  yet  so  full  of  fire  and 
imagination.  If  you  have  not  yet  read  it,  I  beg  you  will.  If  you 
have  read  it,  read  it  again  with  additional  attention.  For  my 
part,  I  think  all  mankind  are  included  in  it.  I  am  persuaded 
it  was  made  for  me,  and  hope  to  profit  by  it ;  at  least  I  shall 
endeavor  to  do  so.  You  know  I  could  never  bear  the  old  saying, 
"  I  am  too  old  to  mend ;"  I  could  much  sooner  pardon  the 
young  for  saying,  I  am  too  young.  Youth  is  in  itself  so 
amiable,  that  were  the  soul  as  perfect  as  the  body,  we  could 
not  forbear  adoring  it ;  but  when  youth  is  past,  it  is  then  we 
ought  to  think  of  improvements,  and  endeavor  to  supply  the 
loss  of  personal  charms  by  the  graces  and  perfections  of  the 
mind.  I  have  long  made  this  the  subject  of  meditation,  and 
am  determined  to  work  every  day  at  my  mind,  my  soul,  my 
heart,  and  my  sentiments.     I  am  full  of  this  at  present,  and 

72  LETTERS    TO 

therefore  fill  my  letter  with  it,  having  besides  nothing  of 
greater  consequence  to  tell  you. 

I  suppose  you  are  at  Lambesc,  but  I  can  not  see  you  clearly 
from  hence  ;  there  is  a  mist  about  my  imagination  that  con- 
ceals you  from  my  sight.  I  had  formed  an  idea  of  Grignan, 
I  saw  your  apartment,  used  to  walk  upon  your  terrace,  and 
went  to  mass  at  your  beautiful  church.  But  now  I  am  quite 
at  a  loss ;  I  wait  with  great  impatience  for  intelligence  from 
your  new  quarters.  I  will  write  no  more  to-day,  though  I 
have  a  great  deal  of  time  upon  my  hands  ;  for  I  have  nothing 
but  trifles  to  tell  you,  which  would  be  an  affront  to  the  lady- 
lieutenant  of  a  province,  who  is  holding  the  States,  and,  con- 
sequently, has  weighty  affairs  upon  her  hands.  It  may  do 
well  enough  when  you  are  in  your  little  palace  of  Apollo. 
Our  abbe  and  La  Mousse  are  very  much  yours ;  and  I,  my 
dear  child,  need  I  tell  you  what  I  am,  or  what  you  are  to  me  ? 


The  Rocks.  Wednesday,  November  4,  1671. 
Let  us  talk  of  M.  Nicole,  it  is  a  long  time  since  we  have 
said  a  word  about  him.  There  is  a  great  deal  of  justice  in 
your  observation  respecting  the  indifference  he  requires  us  to 
show  to  the  opinion  of  the  world ;  I  think  with  you,  that 
philosophy  will  hardly  be  found  sufficient  of  itself,  without  the 
assistance  of  grace.  He  lays  so  great  a  stress  on  preserving 
peace  and  good  fellowship  with  our  neighbor,  and  recommends 
so  many  things  to  us  in  order  to  attain  these,  that  it  is  next 
to  an  impossibility,  after  this,  to  be  indifferent  to  what  the 
world  thinks  of  us.  Guess  what  I  am  doing ;  I  am  beginning 
this  treatise  again — methinks  I  could  wish  to  swallow  it,  like 
EzekiePs  roll.  I  am  delighted  with  what  he  says  on  the  sub- 
ject of  pride  and  self-love,  which  enter  into  all  disputes,  under 
the  feigned  name  of  the  love  of  truth.  In  short,  this  treatise 
will  apply  to  more  than  one  in  the  world ;  but  I  can  not  help 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  73 

thinking  that  he  had  me  principally  in.  view  when  he  wrote  it. 
He  says,  eloquence,  and  a  flow  of  words,  give  a  luster  to  the 
thoughts.  I  greatly  admire  that  expression;  I  thought  it 
beautiful  and  new.  The  word  luster  is  extremely  apposite 
there,  do  you  not  think  so  ?  We  must  read  this  book  to- 
gether at  Grignan.  I  pass  my  time  in  having  masses  said  for 
you  every  day,  and  in  a  multitude  of  disagreeable  thoughts, 
which  can  be  of  no  service  to  you,  but  which,  however,  it  is 
impossible  to  avoid.  I  have  at  present  ten  or  twelve  workmen 
in  the  air,  raising  the  timbers  of  our  chapel.  They  run  back- 
ward and  forward  upon  the  outside  of  it  like  so  many  rats ; 
they  hold  by  nothing,  and  are  every  instant  in  danger  of 
breaking  their  necks,  and  make  my  back  ache  with  endeavor- 
ing to  help  them  below.  One  can  not  but  admire  the  won- 
derful effects  of  Providence  in  the  desire  of  gain,  and  be 
thankful  such  people  are  created,  who  are  willing  to  do  for  a 
shilling  what  others  would  not  do  for  a  hundred  thousand 
pounds.  "  O,  thrice  happy  they  who  plant  cabbages !  when 
they  have  one  foot  on  the  ground,  the  other  is  not  far  off."  I 
have  this  from  a  very  good  author.*  We  have  planters  too 
with  us,  who  are  forming  new  avenues.  I  hold  the  young 
trees  myself  while  they  set  them  in  the  ground,  unless  it  rains 
so  that  there  is  no  being  abroad ;  but  the  weather  almost 
drives  me  to  despair,  and  makes  me  wish  for  a  sylph  to  trans- 
port me  to  Paris.  Madame  de  la  Fayette  says,  that  since  you 
tell  the  story  of  Auger  in  so  serious  a  manner,  she  is  per- 
suaded nothing  can  be  more  true,  and  that  you  are  by  no 
means  jesting  with  me.  She  thought  at  first  that  it  had  been 
a  joke  of  Coulanges',  and  it  looks  very  like  it.  If  you  write 
to  him  upon  the  subject,  pray  let  it  be  in  that  style. 

*  Panur 

74  •'  LETTERS    TO 


Paris,  Wednesday,  Jan.  13,  16*72. 

For  Heaven's  sake,  my  dear  child,  what  do  you  mean  ? 
What  pleasure  can  you  take  in  thus  abusing  your  person  and 
understanding,  vilifying  your  conduct,  and  saying,  that  one 
must  have  great  good-nature  to  think  of  you  sometimes? 
^hough  I  am  certain  you.  can  not  believe  all  you  say,  yet  it 
nurts  me  to  hear  it ;  you  really  make  me  angry  with  you ; 
and  though,  perhaps,  I  ought  not  to  answer  seriously  things 
that  are  only  said  in  jest,  yet  I  can  not  help  scolding  you  be- 
fore I  go  any  further.  You  are  excellent  again,  when  you  say 
you  are  afraid  of  wits.  Alas  !  if  you  knew  how  insignificant 
they  are  when  you  are  by,  and  how  encumbered  they  are 
with  their  own  dear  persons,  you  would  not  value  them  at  all. 
Do  you  remember  how  you  used  to  be  deceived  in  them 
sometimes  ?  Do  not  let  distance  magnify  objects  too  much ; 
but  it  is  one  of  its  common  effects. 

We  sup  every  evening  at  Madame  Scarron's ;  she  has  a 
most  engaging  wit,  and  an  understanding  surprisingly  just 
and  clear.  It  is  a  pleasure  to  hear  her  sometimes  reason  upon 
the  horrid  confusion  and  distractions  of  a  country  with  which 
she  is  very  well  acquainted.  The  vexations  that  Heudicourt 
undergoes  in  a  place  that  appears  so  dazzling  and  glorious ; 
the  continual  rage  of  Lauzun  ;  the  gloomy  chagrin  and  cares 
of  the  court  ladies,  from  which  the  most  envied  are  not  always 
exempt ;  are  things  which  she  describes  in  the  most  agreeable 
and  entertaining  manner.  Such  conversations  as  these  lead 
us  insensibly  from  one  moral  reflection  to  another,  sometimes 
of  a  religious,  sometimes  of  a  political  kind.  You  are  fre- 
quently one  of  our  subjects ;  she  admires  your  wit  and  man- 
ners ;  and,  whenever  you  return  hither,  you  are  sure  of  being 
highly  in  favor. 

But  let  me  give  you  an  instance  of  the  king's  goodness  and 
generosity,  to  show  you  what  a  pleasure  it  is  to  serve  so  ami- 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  75 

able  a  master:  He  sent  for  Marshal  Bellefond  into  his  clcset 
the  other  day,  and  thus  accosted  him :  "  Monsieur  le  mare- 
chal,  I  insist  upon  knowing  your  reasons  for  quitting  my  ser- 
vice. Is  it  through  a  principle  of  devotion  ?  Is  it  from  an 
inclination  to  retire  ?  Or  is  it  on  account  of  your  debts  ?  If 
it  be  the  latter,  I  myself  will  take  charge  of  them,  and  inform 
myself  of  the  state  of  your  affairs."  The  marshal  was  sensibly 
affected  with  this  goodness  :  "  Sire,"  said  he,  "  it  is  my  debts ; 
I  am  overwhelmed  with  them,  and  can  not  bear  to  see  some  of 
my  friends,  who  assisted  me  with  their  fortunes,  likely  to 
suffer  on  my  account,  without  having  it  in  my  power  to  sat- 
isfy them."  "  Well,  then,"  said  the  king,  "  they  shall  have 
security  for  what  is  owing  to  them  :  I  now  give  you  a  hun- 
dred thousand  francs  on  your  house  at  Versailles,  and  a  grant 
of  four  hundred  thousand  more,  as  a  security  in  case  of  your 
death.  The  hundred  thousand  francs  will  enable  you  to  pay 
off  the  arrears,  and  so  now  you  remain  in  my  service."  That 
heart  must  be  insensible  indeed,  that  could  refuse  the  most 
implicit  obedience  to  such  a  master,  who  enters  with  so  much 
goodness  and  condescension  into  the  interest  of  his  servants. 
Accordingly  the  marshal  made  no  further  resistance ;  he  is 
now  reinstated  in  his  j)lace,  and  loaded  with  favors.  This  is 
all  strictly  true. 

Not  a  night  passes  at  St.  Germains  without  balls,  plays,  or 
masquerades.  The  king  shows  an  assiduity  to  divert  this 
madam e  that  he  never  did  for  the  other.  Racine  has  brought 
out  a  new  piece  called  Bajazet,  which  they  say  carries  every 
thing  before  it :  indeed  it  does  not  go  in  emperando,  as  the 
others  did.  Monsieur  de  Tallard  says,  that  it  as  much  ex- 
ceeds the  best  piece  of  Corneille's,  as  Corneille's  does  one  of 
Boyer's  ;  this  now  is  what  you  may  call  praising  by  the  lump ; 
there  is  nothing  like  telling  truth ;  however,  our  eyes  and  ears 
will  inform  us  more  fully ;  for 

Du  bruit  de  Bajazet  mon  ame  importune  e  * 
*  A  line  in  Despreaux. 

76  LETTERS    TO 

obliges  me  to  go  immediately  to  the  play ;  we  shall  see  what 
it  is. 

I  have  been  at  Livri.  Ah,  my  dear  child,  how  well  did  I 
keep  my  word  with  you,  and  how  many  tender  thoughts  of 
you  filled  my  breast !  It  was  delightful  weather,  though  very 
cold  ;  but  the  sun  shone  finely,  and  every  tree  was  hung  with 
pearls  and  crystals,  that  formed  a  pleasing  diversity  of  colors. 
I  walked  a  great  deal.  The  next  day  I  dined  at  Pomponne. 
It  would  not  be  an  easy  matter  to  recount  all  that  passed  dur- 
ing a  stay  of  five  hours ;  however,  I  was  not  at  all  tired  with 
my  visit.  Monsieur  de  Pomponne  will  be  here  in  three  or 
four  days.  I  should  be  very  much  vexed  if  I  was  obliged  to 
apply  to  him  about  your  Provence  affairs ;  I  am  persuaded  he 
will  not  hear  me.  You  see  I  give  myself  airs  of  knowledge. 
But  really  nothing  comes  up  to  M.  d'Usez  ;  I  never  saw  a  man 
of  better  understanding,  nor  one  more  capable  of  giving  sound 
advice.  I  wait  to  see  him,  that  I  may  inform  you  of  what  he 
has  done  at  St.  Germain. 

You  desire  me  to  write  you  long  letters  ;  I  think  you  have 
now  sufficient  reason  to  be  contented ;  I  am  sometimes  fright- 
ened at  the  length  of  them  myself;  and  were  it  not  for  your 
agreeable  flattery,  I  should  never  think  of  venturing  them  out 
of  my  hands.  Madame  de  Brissac  is  excellently  provided  for 
the  winter,  in  M.  de  Longueville  and  the  Count  de  Guiche ; 
'but  nothing  is  meant  but  what  is  fair  and  honorable,  only  she 
takes  a  pleasure  in  being  adored.  La  Marans  is  never  seen 
now,  either  at  Madame  de  la  Fayette's  or  at  M.  de  la  Roche- 
foucault's ;  we  can  not  find  out  what  she  is  doing ;  we  are  apt 
to  judge  a  little  rashly  now  and  then  ;  she  took  it  into  her 
head  this  summer,  that  she  should  be  ravished,  as  if  she 
wished  it ;  but  I  am  of  opinion  that  she  is  in  no  great  dangu. 
Good  Heavens,  what  a  mad  creature  she  is,  and  how  long  have 
I  looked  on  her  in  the  same  light  as  you  do  now  !  But  now 
let  me  tell  you,  my  dear,  it  is  not  my  fault  that  I  do  not  see 
Madame  de  la  Valavoire.*     I  am  sure  there  is  no  occasion  to 

*  A  lady  of  quality  in  Provence,  who  was  just  then  come  to  Paris. 

MADAME     DE     6RIGNAN.  71 

bid  me  go  and  see  her,  it  is  enough  that  she  has  seen  you,  hv 
me  to  run  after  her ;  but  then  she  is  running  after  somebody 
else ;  for  I  might  forever  desire  her  to  wait  at  home  for  me  ; 
I  can  not  get  her  to  do  me  that  favor.  Your  jest  applies  ad- 
mirably to  M.  le  Grand,  and  a  very  good  one  it  is.  Poor 
Chatillon  is  every  day  teasing  us  with  the  most  wretched  ones 


Paris,  Wednesday,  June  20,  1672. 

I  send  you  M.  de  Roehefoucault's  Maxims,  revised  and  cor- 
rected, with  additions ;  it  is  a  present  to  you  from  himself. 
Some  of  them  I  can  make  shift  to  guess  the  meaning  of ;  but 
there  are  others  that,  to  my  shame  be  it  spoken,  I  can  not  un- 
derstand at  all.  God  knows  how  it  will  be  with  you.  There 
is  a  dispute  between  the  archbishop  of  Paris  and  the  arch- 
bishop of  Rheims  about  a  point  of  ceremony  :  Paris  will  have 
Rheims  ask  leave  of  him,  as  his  superior,  to  officiate,  which 
Rheims  will  not  consent  to.  It  is  said  that  these  two  right 
reverends  will  never  agree  till  they  are  thirty  or  forty  leagues 
asunder ;  if  that  is  the  case,  they  are  both  of  them  likely  to 
continue  as  they  are.  The  ceremony  it  relates  to  is  the  canon- 
ization of  one  Borgia,  a  Jesuit.  The  whole  opera  band  is  to 
exert  itself  on  the  occasion ;  the  streets  will  be  illuminated, 
even  to  the  Rue  St.  Antoine ;  the  people  are  all  mad  about  it : 
old  Merinville,  however,  has  died  without  having  seen  it. 

Do  not  deceive  yourself,  my  child,  by  entertaining  too  good 
an  opinion  of  my  letters-  The  other  day  an  impertinent  fel- 
ling the  monstrous  length  of  a  letter  I  was  writing  to 
jou,  asked  me  very  seriously,  if  I  thought  any  body  could  pos- 
sibly read  it  all :  I  trembled  at  the  thought  of  it,  but  without 
any  intention  of  amendment ;  for  the  correspondence  I  have 
with  you  is  my  existence,  the  sole  pleasure  of  my  life ;  and 
every  other  consideration  is  but  mean,  when  put  in  competition 

78  LETTERS     TO 

with  it.  I  am  uneasy  about  your  brother  ;  poor  fellow !  The 
weather  is  very  cold:  he  lies  in  camp,  and  is  still  on  the 
march  to  Cologne,  for  the  Lord  knows  how  long !  I  was  in 
hopes  of  seeing  him  this  winter,  and  see  where  he  is  now ! 
After  all,  I  find  little  Mademoiselle  Adhemar  must  be  the  com- 
fort of  my  old  age  :  I  wish  you  could  but  see  how  fond  she  is 
of  me ;  how  she  cries  after  me,  and  hangs  about  me.  She  is 
not  a  beauty,  but  she  is  very  pleasing — has  a  delightful  voice, 
and  a  skin  as  clear  and  white  ...  In  short,  I  doat  on  her.  You, 
it  seems,  doat  on  your  boy  ;  I  am  very  glad  of  it ;  we  can  not 
have  too  many  things  to  amuse  us  ;  real  or  imaginary,  it  does 
not  signify. 

To-morrow  there  is  to  be  a  ball  at  Madame's.  I  saw  a  heap 
of  jewels  tossing  about  at  mademoiselle's,  which  put  me  in  mind 
of  past  troubles :  and  yet,  would  to  Heaven  we  were  at  the 
same  work  again  !  For  how  can  I  be  unhappy  while  you 
are  with  me  ?  Alas !  my  whole  life  is  one  continued  scene  of 
sorrow  and  disappointment.  Dear  Monsieur  Nicole !  have 
pity  on  me;  and  teach  me  to  bear,  with  patience,  the  dispen- 
sations of  Providence.  Farewell,  my  dearest  child,  I  dare  not 
say  I  adore  you ;  but  I  can  not  conceive  any  degree  of  love 
superior  to  mine :  the  kind  and  pleasing  assurances  you  give 
me  of  yours,  at  once  lighten  and  increase  my  sorrows. 


Paris,  "Wednesday,  March  16,  16*72. 
You  talk  to  me  of  my  departure  :  alas  !  my  dear,  I  languish 
in  the  pleasing  hope  of  it ;  nothing  now  stops  me,  but  my  poor 
aunt,*  who  is  dying  with  violent  pain  and  dropsy  :  it  breaks 
my  heart  to  see  her  sufferings,  and  to  hear  the  tender  and 
affecting  manner  in  which  she  talks  to  me  :  her  courage, 
patience,  and  resignation,  are  all  together  admirable.  M. 
d'Hacqueville  and  I  observe  her  distemper  from  day  to  day ; 

*  Henrietta  de  Coulanges,  Marchioness  de  la  Trousse. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  79 

he  sees  my  inmost  heart,  and  knows  what  grief  it  is  to  me  not 
to  be  at  liberty  at  present :  I  am  entirely  guided  by  him,  and 
we  shall  see,  between  this  and  Easter,  whether  her  disorder 
increases  as  much  as  it  has  done  since  I  came  hither ;  if  it 
does,  she  will  die  in  our  arms  ;  but  if  she  receives  any  relief, 
and  is  likely  to  languish  for  any  length  of  time,  I  shall  then 
set  out  as  soon  as  M.  de  Coulanges  comes  back.  Our  poor 
abbe  is  as  vexed  at  this  as  myself ;  but  we  shall  be  able  to 
judge  how  it  will  turn  out  by  next  month.  I  can  think  of 
nothing  else  :  yon  can  not  wish  to  see  me  so  much  as  I  do  to 
embrace  you  ;  so  put  some  bounds  to  your  ambition,  and  do 
not  hope  ever  to  equal  me  in  that  respect. 

My  son  tells  me,  they  lead  a  wretched  life  in  Germany,  and 
are  working  all  in  the  dark.  He  was  greatly  concerned  at  the 
death  of  the  poor  chevalier.  You  ask  me  if  I  am  as  fond  of 
life  as  ever  :  I  must  own  to  you  that  I  experience  mortifica- 
tions, and  severe  ones  too ;  but  I  am  still  unhappy  at  the 
thoughts  of  death :  I  consider  it  so  great  a  misfortune  to  see 
the  termination  of  all  my  pursuits,  that  I  should  desire  noth- 
ing better,  if  it  were  practicable,  than  to  begin  life  again.  I 
find  myself  engaged  in  a  scene  of  confusion  and  trouble  :  I 
was  embarked  in  life  without  my  own  consent,  and  know 
I  must  leave  it  again  ;  that  distracts  me :  for  how  shall  I 
leave  it  ?  in  what  manner  ?  by  what  door  ?  at  what  time  ?  in 
what  disposition  ?  Am  I  to  suffer  a  thousand  pains  and  tor- 
ments that  will  make  me  die  in  a  state  of  despair  ?  Shall  I 
lose  my  senses  1  Am  I  to  die  by  some  sudden  accident  ? 
How  shall  I  stand  with  God  ?  What  shall  I  have  to  offer  to 
him  ?  Will  fear  and  necessity  make  my  peace  with  him  ? 
Shall  I  have  no  other  sentiment,  but  that  of  fear  ?  What 
T  to  hope  ?  Am  I  worthy  of  heaven  ?  or  have  I  de- 
„d  the  torments  of  hell  ?  Dreadful  alternative  !  Alarm- 
ing uncertainty !  Can  there  be  greater  madness  than  to  place 
our  eternal  salvation  in  uncertainty  ?  Yet  what  is  more  natu- 
ral, or  can  be  more  easily  accounted  for,  than  the  foolish  man- 
ner in  which  I  have  spent  my  life  ?     I  am  frequently  buried  in 

80  LETTERS    TO 

thoughts  of  this  nature,  and  then  death  appears  so  dreadful 
to  me  that  I  hate  life  more  for  leading  me  to  it,  than  I  do  for 
all  the  thorns  that  are  strewed  in  its  way.  You  will  ask  me 
then,  if  I  would  wish  to  live  forever  ?  Far  from  it ;  but  if  I 
had  been  consulted,  I  would  veiy  gladly  have  died  in  my 
nurse's  arms ;  it  would  have  spared  me  many  vexations,  and 
would  have  insured  heaven  to  me  at  a  very  easy  rate :  but  let 
us  talk  of  something  else. 

I  am  quite  provoked  that  you  have  received  Bajazet  from 
any  hand  but  mine  ;  that  fellow  Barbin*  has  served  me  this 
trick,  out  of  spite,  because  I  do  not  write  Princesses  of  Cleves 
and  Montpensier.f  You  form  a  very  just  and  true  judgment 
of  Bajazet,  and  you  will  find  that  I  am  of  your  opinion :  I 
wish  I  could  send  you  Champmelee  to  enliven  it  a  little.  The 
character  of  Bajazet  wants  life,  and  the  manners  of  the  Turks 
are  ill  preserved  :  their  marriages  have  less  ceremony ;  the 
plot  is  badly  managed  ;  and  we  are  at  a  loss  to  account  for  so 
much  slaughter :  the  piece  has  doubtless  its  beauties ;  but 
there  is  nothing  superlative ;  nothing  perfect ;  none  of  those 
fine  strokes,  that,  like  Corneille's,  make  one  tremble.  Let  us 
be  cautious  how  we  compare  Racine  with  him ;  the  difference 
between  them  is  great :  the  pieces  of  the  latter  are  in  many 
places  cold  and  feeble ;  nor  will  he  ever  be  able  to  surpass 
his  Alexander  and  Andromache.  Many  persons  consider  Ba- 
jazet as  inferior  to  both  these,  and  it  is  my  opinion  also,  if 
I  may  be  allowed  to  give  it.  Racine's  plays  are  written  for 
Champmelee,  and  not  for  posterity  ;J  whenever  he  grows  old 
and  ceases  to  be  in  love,  it  will  be  seen  whether  I  am  mistaken 
or  not.  Long  live  then  our  old  friend  Corneille ;  let  us  forgive 
the  bad  lines  we  occasionally  meet  with  for  the  sake  of  those 

*  A  famous  bookseller  of  that  name.  " 

f  Two  romances  written  by  Madame  de  la  Fayette,  by  which  Barbut 

got  a  great  deal  of  money. 

J  The  event  has  proved,  by  Mithridates,  Phaedra,  and  Athaliah,  that 

Madame  de  Sevigne's  judgment  partook  of  the  prejudice  of  the  times 

in  which  she  wrote. 

MADAME     DE     6BIONAN.  |gj) 

divine  sallies  that  so  often  transport  us,  those  masterly  strokes 
that  bid  defiance  to  imitation.  Despreaux  has  said  as  much 
before  me ;  and  it  is  in  general  the  opinion  of  every  one  of 
good  taste  ;  let  us  therefore  maintain  it. 

I  send  you  a  witticism  of  Madame  de  CornuePs,  which  has 
highly  diverted  the  crowd.  Young  M.  Tombonneau  has  quit- 
ted the  long  robe,  and  taken  to  the  jacket  and  trowsers  :  in 
short,  he  is  resolved  to  go  to  sea ;  I  do  not  know  in  what  way 
the  land  has  offended  him ;  however,  somebody  told  Madame 
de  Cornuel  that  he  was  going  to  sea.  "  Lord  bless  the  man  !" 
said  she,  "has  he  been  bitten  by  a  mad  dog 2"  As  this  was 
said  off  hand,  it  raised  a  great  laugh. 


Paris,  Wednesday,  May  4,  1672. 
It  is  impossible,  my  dear  child,  to  tell  you  how  much  J 
pity,  how  much  I  praise,  and  how  much  I  admire  you  :  thus  I 
divide  my  discourse  into  three  heads.  First,  /  pity  you  in 
being  so  subject  to  the  vapors  and  low  spirits,  as  they  will 
certainly  do  you  much  harm.  Secondly,  I  praise  you  for  sub- 
duing them  when  there  is  occasion,  especially  on  M.  de  Grig- 
nan's  account,  whom  they  must  make  very  uneasy ;  it  is 
a  pleasing  proof  of  the  regard  and  consideration  you  have  for 
him.  Thirdly  and  lastly,  /  admire  you  for  suppressing  your 
natural  inclination,  to  appear  what  you  are  not :  this  is  really 
heroic,  and  the  fruit  of  your  philosophy  :  you  have  ample 
matter  in  yourself  to  call  it  into  exercise.  We  were  saying 
the  other  day  that  there  is  no  real  evil  in  life,  except  great 
pain ;  all  the  rest  is  merely  imaginary,  and  depends  on  the 
light  in  which  we  view  things.  All  o^her  evils  are  curable 
either  by  time,  moderation  in  our  wishes,  or  strength  of  mind  ; 
and  may  be  lightened  by  reflection,  religion,  or  philosophy. 
But  pain  frrannizes  over  both  soul  and  body.     Confidence  in 


82  LETTERS    TO 

God  may  indeed  enable  us  to  bear  it  witb  patience,  and  turn 
it  to  our  advantage,  but  it  will  not  diminish  it. 

This  seems  to  savor  of  the  Fauxbourg  Saint  Germain,*  but 
it  comes  from  my  poor  aunt's  apartment,  where  I  was  the 
leader  of  the  conversation.  The  subject  arose  naturally  from 
her  extreme  sufferings,  which,  she  maintains,  are  infinitely  su- 
perior to  every  evil  that  life  is  subject  to.  M.  de  la  Rochefou- 
cault  is  of  the  same  opinion :  he  is  still  tormented  with  the 
gout ;  he  has  lost  his  true  mother,f  and  he  lamented  her 
death  so  tenderly  and  affectionately  that  I  almost  adored 
him :  she  was  a  woman  of  extraordinary  merit,  and  was  the 
only  person  in  the  world,  he  said,  who  was  unchangeable  in 
her  love  to  him.  Fail  not  to  write  to  him ;  both  you  and  M. 
de  Grignan.  M.  de  Rochefoucault's  affection  for  his  family  is 
unparalleled :  he  maintains  that  it  is  one  of  the  chains  that  at- 
tach us  to  one  another.  We  have  discovered,  and  related,  and 
reconciled  many  things  relative  to  his  foolish  mother  (Madame 
de  Marans),  which  explain  to  us  clearly  what  you  once  said, 
that  it  was  not  what  we  thought,  but  quite  another  thing ; 
yes  truly  it  was  quite  another  thing,  or  perhaps  better  still,  it 
was  this  and  that  too;  one  was  without  prejudice  to  the 
other ;  she  wedded  the  lute  to  the  voice,  and  spiritual  things 
to  coarseness  and  indelicacy.  My  child,  we  have  found  a 
good  vein,  and  one  which  explains  the  mystery  of  a  quarrel 
you  once  had  in  the  council-chamber  of  Madame  de  la  Fay- 
ette.    I  will  tell  you  the  rest  in  Provence. 

My  aunt  is  in  a  state  which  does  not  seem  likely  to  termi- 
nate. Your  journey  is  exceedingly  well-timed,  perhaps  ours 
may  tally  with  it.  We  have  a  great  desire  to  pass  some  part 
of  our  Whitsuntide  on  the  road,  either  at  Moulins  or  at  Ly- 
ons. The  abbe  wishes  it  no  less  than  myself.  There  is  not  a 
man  of  quality  (of  the  sword  I  mean)  in  Paris.  I  went  on 
Sunday  to  hear  mass  at  the  Minims.    "  We  shall  find  our  poor 

*  That  is,  from  Madame  de  la  Fayette,  at  whose  house  M.  de  Roche- 
foucault,  and  some  of  the  most  select  company  in  Paris,  used  to  meet. 
f  G-abrielle  du  Plessis  Liar.court. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  83 

Minims  quite  deserted,"  said  I  to  Mademoiselle  de  la  Trousse, 
"  we  shall  not  find  a  creature  there,  except  the  Marquis  d'Al- 
luye."  *  Well,  we  went  into  the  church,  where  the  first  and 
only  creature  we  saw  was  the  Marquis  d'Alluye  :  I  could  not 
help  laughing  till  I  fairly  cried  at  the  oddity  of  the  thing ; 
in  short  he  is  left  behind,  and  is  going  to  his  government  on 
the  sea-coast.     The  coast  must  be  guarded,  you  know. 

The  lover  of  her  whom  you  style  the  incomparable,]  did  not 
meet  her  at  the  first  stage,  but  on  the  road,  in  a  house  of 
Sanguinis,  a  little  beyond  that  which  you  know  ;  he  remained 
there  two  hours.  It  is  thought  he  then  saw  the  children  for 
the  first  time.  The  fair  one  stays  there,  attended  by  a  guard 
and  a  female  friend  ;  she  is  to  be  there  for  four  or  ^ve  months. 
Madame  de  la  Valliere  is  at  St.  Germains.  Madame  de  Thi- 
anges  is  here  with  her  father ;  I  saw  her  daughter  the  other 
day,  she  is  beautiful  beyond  all  imagination.  Some  people 
pretend  that  the  king  went  straight  to  Nanteuil,  but  it  is  cer- 
tain that  the  fair  one  is  at  the  house  called  Genitoi.  I  tell  you 
nothing  but  the  truth  ;  there  is  nothing  I  have  a  greater  aver- 
sion and  contempt  for  than  idle  stories. 

You  have  taken  your  departure,  then,  my  dear.  Well,  I 
will  live  in  the  hope  of  hearing  from  you  at  every  stage.  I 
shall  not  be  behindhand  on  my  side.  I  have  managed  so 
well  as  to  find  a  friend  at  the  post-office,  who  is  very  careful 
of  our  letters.  I  have  for  these  several  days  past  been  occu- 
pied in  adorning  my  cottage  ;  Saint  Aubin  has  effected  won- 
ders. I  shall  sleep  there  to-morrow.  I  swear  to  you  that  the 
reason  I  like  it  so  well  is  because  it  is  intended  for  you.  You 
will  be  very  well  accommodated  in  my  apartment,  and  I  shall 
not  be  less  so.  I  will  tell  you  bow  charmingly  every  thing  is 
contrived.  I  am  extremely  uneasy  about  your  poor  brother  ; 
this  terrible  war  makes  us  tremble  for  those  we  love ;  when- 
ever I  think  of  it  it  fills  me  with  horror ;  but  then,  again,  I 

*  Paul  d'Escloubleau,  Marquis  d'AUuye  and  de  Sourdis,  governor  of 
the  city  and  country  of  Orleans,  and  of  the  Pays  Chartrain. 
f  The  king  and  Madame  de  Montespan. 

84  LETTERS    TO 

comfort  myself  with  the  thought  that  it  may  not  be  so  had  as 
I  apprehend,  for  I  have  remarked  that  things  seldom  happen 
as  we  expect  them  to  do. 

Pray  let  me  know  what  has  happened  between  the  Princess 
Harcourt  and  you.*  Brancas  is  dreadfully  chagrined  that 
you  do  not  love  his  daughter.  M.  d'Usez  has  promised  to  re- 
establish peace  between  all  parties  :  I  should  be  glad  to  know 
what  has  occasioned  the  coolness  between  you. 

You  tell  me  of  your  son,  that  his  beauty  grows  less,  and 
his  merit  increases :  I  am  sorry  for  the  loss  of  his  beauty,  and 
I  am  rejoiced  to  find  that  he  loves  wine ;  this  is  a  little  spice 
of  Brittany  and  Burgundy  together,  which  will  produce  a 
charming  effect  with  the  prudence  of  the  Grignans.  As  for 
your  daughter,  she  is  quite  the  reverse  ;  her  beauty  increases, 
and  her  merit  lessens.  I  assure  you,  she  is  very  pretty,  but  as 
obstinate  as  a  demon ;  she  has  her  little  wills  and  little  designs 
of  her  own  ;  she  diverts  us  extremely ;  she  has  a  beautiful 
complexion,  blue  eyes,  black  hair,  a  nose  neither  handsome 
nor  ugly ;  her  chin,  her  cheeks,  and  the  turn  of  her  face  are 
faultless.  I  shall  say  nothing  of  her  mouth,  it  will  do  very 
well.  She  has  a  very  sweet  voice :  Madame  de  Coulanges 
thinks  it  suits  her  mouth  admirably. 

•  I  fancy,  my  dear  child,  that  I  shall  at  last  be  a  convert  to 
your  opinion.  I  meet  with  vexations  in  life  that  are  insup- 
portable, and  find,  notwithstanding  my  fine  reasoning  at  the 
beginning  of  this  letter,  there  are  many  evils  which,  though 
less  severe  than  bodily  pain,  are  nevertheless  equally  to  be 


Paris,  Friday,  May  30,  1672. 
I  had  no  letter  from  you  yesterday,  my  poor  child.     Your 
journey  to  Manaco  had  put  you  quite  out  of  sorts.    I  was 

*  Frances  de  Brancas,  wife  of  Alphonso  Henry  Chartres,  of  Lorrain, 


afraid  some  little  disaster  of  this  kind  would  befall  me.  I  now 
send  you  news  from  M.  de  Pomponne  ;  the  fashion  of  being 
wounded  is  already  begun  ;  my  heart  is  very  heavy  with  the 
fears  of  this  campaign.  My  son  writes  by  every  opportunity  ; 
he  is  at  present  in  good  health. 

My  aunt  is  still  in  a  deplorable  state,  and  yet  we  have  the 
courage  to  think  of  appointing  a  day  for  our  departure,  as- 
suming a  hope  which  in  reality  we  can  not  entertain.  I  can 
not  help  thinking  that  many  of  the  events  of  life  are  ill-ar- 
ranged ;  they  are,  as  it  were,  rugged  stones  lying  aoross  our 
way, .too  unwieldy  to  be  removed,  and  which  we  must  get 
over  as  well  as  we  can,  though  not  without  pain  and  difficulty. 
Is  not  the  comparison  just  ?  I  shall  not  bring  my  little  girl 
with  me  ;  she  goes  on  very  well  at  Livri,  and  is  to  stay  there 
during  the  summer.  You  never  saw  Livri  in  such  perfection 
as  it  is  at  present ;  the  trees  are  beautifully  green,  and  the 
honeysuckles  are  every  where  in  profusion.  I  am  not  yet 
tired  of  their  perfume.  But  you  despise  our  shrubberies  since 
you  have  been  accustomed  to  your  groves  of  orange-trees. 

I  have  a  very  tragical  history  to  communicate  to  you  from 
Livri.  Do  you  remember  that  pretended  devotee,  who  walked 
so  steadily  without  turning  his  head  that  you  would  have 
thought  he  was  carrying  a  glass  of  water  upon  it  ?  His  devo- 
tion has  turned  his  brain.  One  night  he  gave  himself  five  or 
six  stabs  with  a  knife,  and  fell  on  his  knees  in  his  cell,  naked, 
and  weltering  in  his  blood.  On  entering,  he  was  found  in  this 
posture.  "  Good  God !  brother,  what  have  you  done  ?  Who 
has  treated  you  thus  V  He  replied,  very  calmly,  "  Father,  I 
am  doing  penance."  He  fainted  away  ;  he  was  put  to  bed  ; 
his  wounds,  which  were  found  very  dangerous,  were  dressed ; 
with  uncommon  care  and  attention  he  recovered  at  the  end  of 
three  months,  and  was  sent  back  to  his  friends. 

If  you  do  not  think  such  a  head  sufficiently  disordered,  tell 

Prince  of  Harcourt,  and  daughter  of  Charles  de  Brancas,  gentleman 
of  honor  to  Queen  Anne  of  Austria. 

86  LETTERS    TO 

me  so,  and  you  shall  have  the  story  of  Madame  Paul,*  who 
is  fallen  desperately  in  love  with  a  great  booby  of  five  or  six 
and  twenty,  whom  she  had  taken  to  be  her  gardener.  The 
lady  has  managed  her  affairs  admirably  ;  she  has  married  him. 
The  fellow  is  a  mere  brute,  and  has  not  common  sense ;  he 
will  beat  her  soon,  he  has  already  threatened  to  do  it ;  no 
matter,  she  was  resolved  to  have  him.  I  have  never  seen 
such  violent  love  ;  there  is  all  the  extravagance  of  sentiments 
imaginable,  were  they  but  rightly  applied  ;  but  they  are  like 
a  rough  sketch  of  an  ill  painting ;  all  the  colors  are  there, 
they  want  only  to  be  properly  disposed.  It  is  extremely 
amusing  to  me  to  meditate  on  the  caprices  of  love.  I  feel 
frightened  for  myself  when  I  see  such  things  !  What  insolence, 
to  attack  Mme.  Paul — that  is  to  say,  austere,  old,  straight- 
laced  virtue  herself! 


Paris,  Monday,  June  20,  1672. 
I  can  not  reflect  upon  the  situation  you  have  been  in,  with- 
out great  emotion ;  and  though  I  know  you  are  out  of  dan- 
ger, yet  I  can  not  turn  my  eyes  on  what  has  passed  without 
a  horror  that  distracts  me.  Alas,  how  much  was  I  in  the 
dark  about  a  health  that  was  so  dear  to  me  !  If  any  one  had 
told  me  that  my  daughter  was  in  greater  danger  than  if  she 
had  been  in  the  army,  how  little  should  I  have  believed  it ! 
Must  I  suffer  this  useless  grief  in  addition  to  so  many  other 
sorrows  that  afflict  my  heart  ?  The  extreme  danger  my  sou 
is  in ;  the  war,  which  rages  every  day  with  greater  violence ; 
the  couriers,  who  bring  no  other  news  but  the  death  of  some 
friend  or  acquaintance,  and  may  bring  accounts  more  fatal ; 
the  fear  of  hearing  ill  news,  and  yet  the  curiosity  of  knowing 
it ;  the  desolation  of  those  who  are  in  excess  of  grief,  and  with 
whom  I  pass  a  great  part  of  my  time  ;  the  strange  state  of 
health  my  aunt  is  in,  and  my  extreme  desire  of  seeing  you ; 

*  Widow  to  the  gardener  at  Livri. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN,  87 

all  this  afflicts  and  consumes  me,  and  forces  me  to  lead  a  life 
so  contrary  to  my  inclination,  that  I  have  need  of  more  than 
a  common  share  of  health  to  support  it. 

You  have  nevar  seen  Paris  as  it  is  at  present ;  all  the  world 
is  in  tears,  or  fears  to  be  so.  Poor  Madame  de  Nogent  is 
almost  beside  herself.  Madame  de  Longueville  pierces  every 
heart  with  her  complaints.  I  have  not  seen  her  indeed,  but 
this  is  what  I  am  told.  Mademoiselle  de  Vertus  returned  two 
days  since  from  Port-Royal,  where  she  resides.  They  sent  for 
her  and  M.  Arnauld,  to  impart  to  Madame  de  Longueville  the 
terrible  news.  The  very  sight  of  Mademoiselle  de  Vertus  was 
sufficient ;  her  sudden  return  was  too  sure  a  sign  that  some 
fatal  accident  had  happened.  As  soon  therefore  as  she  ap- 
peared— "  Ah !  mademoiselle,  how  is  it  with  my  brother  ?"* 
She  did  not  dare,  even  in  thought,  to  inquire  further.  "  Ma- 
dam, he  is  recovered  of  his  wound — there  has  been  a  battle — " 
"And  my  son?"  No  answer  was  made.  "Ah!  mademoi- 
selle, my  son,  my  dear  child  !  answer  me ;  is  he  dead  ?"  "  I 
have  no  words  to  answer  you,  madam."  "  Oh,  my  dear  son  ! 
Was  he  killed  on  the  spot  ?  Had  he  not  a  single  moment  ? 
Ob,  God !  what  a  sacrifice  is  this !"  And  she  threw  herself 
upon  the  bed,  and  by  expressions  of  the  most  lively  sorrow,  by 
fainting-fits,  by  convulsions,  by  the  silence  of  despair,  by 
stifled  cries,  by  sudden  bursts  of  passion,  by  floods  of  bitter 
tears,  by  eyes  uplifted  to  heaven,  and  by  heart-rending  com- 
plaints, she  exhibited  all  the  various  emotions  of  grief.  She 
sees  a  few  friends ;  and,  in  pure  submission  to  Providence, 
consents  to  receive  such  nourishment  as  is  just  sufficient  to 
keep  life  and  soul  together.  She  takes  no  rest ;  her  health, 
before  in  a  declining  state,  is  visibly  altered  for  the  worse. 
For  my  part,  I  wish  her  death  earnestly,  as  I  can  not  think  she 
can  survive  such  a  loss.  There  is  a  certain  gentlemanf  who 
is  scarcely  less  affected.  I  can  not  help  thinking,  that  if  they 
had  met,  in  the  first  moments  of  their  grief,  and  had  been 
alone  together,  all  other  sentiments  would  have  given  place 

*  The  Prince  of  Conde*.  f  M.  de  la  Rochefoucault. 

88  LETTERS    TO 

to  sighs  and  tears,  redoubled  without  intermission;  there 
would  have  been  a  dumb  scene  of  sorrow,  a  dialogue  of  inar- 
ticulate sighs  and  groans.  This  is  a  mere  thought  of  my  own. 
But,  my  dear,  how  great  affliction  is  this !  The  very  mis- 
tresses of  poor  De  Longueville  do  not  constrain  themselves ; 
his  domestics  are  disconsolate ;  and  his  gentleman,  who  came 
yesterday  with  the  ill  news,  scarcely  appears  a  reasonable  crea- 
ture.    This  death  effaces  the  thoughts  of  all  others. 

A  courier,  who  arrived  yesterday  evening,  brings  an  account 
of  the  death  of  the  Count  du  Plessis,*  who  was  killed  by  a 
cannon-shot,  as  he  was  giving  directions  for  making  a  bridge. 
Arnheim  is  besieged  by  M.  Turenne.  They  did  not  attack 
the  fort  of  Skeing,  as  it  was  defended  by  eight  thousand  men. 
Alas!  these  successful  beginnings  will  be  followed  with  a 
tragical  end  for  a  great  number  of  families.  May  Heaven  pre- 
serve my  poor  son  !  He  was  not  upon  this  expedition  ;  but 
the  campaign  is  not  yet  finished. 

In  the  midst  of  our  afflictions,  the  description  you  have 
given  me  of  Madame  Colonna  and  her  sister,f  is  really  divine ; 
it  rouses  one  under  the  most  melancholy  circumstances.  It  is 
an  admirable  picture.  The  Countess  de  Soissons,  and  Ma- 
dame de  Bouillon,J  are  quite  in  a  rage  with  these  fools,  and 
say  they  ought  to  be  confined.  It  is  thought  that  the  king 
will  not  disoblige  the  constable§  (Colonna),  who  is  certainly 
one  of  the  greatest  men  in  Rome.  In  the  mean  time  we  are 
in  expectation  of  seeing  them  arrive  here  like  Mademoiselle  de 
l'Etoile  ;||  this  comparison  is  good. 

The  accounts  I  send  you  are  from  the  best  authority ;  you 
will  find  by  all  you  receive,  that  M.  de  Longueville  has  been 
the  cause  of  his  own  death,  as  well  as  of  the  death  of  many 

*  Alexander  de  Choiseul,  Count  du  Plessis,  son  of  Caesar  de  Choiseul, 
Marshal  of  France. 

f  Hortensia  Mancini,  Duchess  of  Mazarin. 

J  Sisters  to  Mesdames  de  Colonna  and  Mazarin. 

§  The  father  of  these  ladies,  and  of  one  of  the  most  powerful  families 
in  Rome.  |  In  Scarron's  comic  romance. 


others ;  and  that  the  prince  has  showed  himself,  through  the 
whole  of  this  expedition,  more  like  a  father  than  the  general 
of  an  army.  I  said  yesterday,  and  others  agreed  with  me, 
that  if  the  war  continues,  the  duke*  will  certainly  occasion  the 
death  of  the  prince.  His  love  for  him  surpasses  every  other 

La  Marans  affects  to  appear  overwhelmed  with  grief.  She 
says  that  she  sees  very  plainly  there  is  something  in  the  news 
from  the  army  which  is  concealed  from  her ;  and  that  the 
prince  and  the  duke  are  dead,  as  well  as  M.  de  Longueville. 
She  conjures  people,  by  all  that  is  sacred,  to  speak  out,  and 
not  to  spare  her ;  and  tells  them,  that  in  her  deplorable  situa- 
tion, it  is  in  vain  to  hide  any  thing  from  her.  If  it  were  pos- 
sible to  laugh  under  these  circumstances,  we  should  laugh  at 
her.  Alas !  if  she  knew  how  little  any  of  us  think  of  con- 
cealing any  thing  from  her,  and  how  much  every  one  is  taken 
up  with  his  own  griefs  and  his  own  fears,  she  would  not  have 
the  vanity  to  believe  we  paid  so  much  attention  to  her  as  to 
deceive  her. 

The  news  I  send  you  comes,  as  I  before  said,  from  good 
authority ;  I  had  it  from  Gourville,  who  was  with  Madame  de 
Longueville  when  she  heard  of  her  son's  death.  All  the 
couriers  come  straight  to  him.  M.  de  Longueville  had  made 
his  will  before  he  set  out.  He  leaves  a  great  part  of  his  prop- 
erty to  a  son  he  has,  who,  as  I  believe,  will  take  the  title  of 
Chevalier  d'Orleans,f  without  expense  to  his  relations.  Have 
you  heard  how  the  body  of  M.  de  Longueville  was  disposed 
of?  It  was  laid  in  the  same  boat  in  which  he  passed  the 
river  two  hours  before.  The  prince,  who  was  wounded,  ordered 
him  to  be  placed  near  him,  covered  with  a  cloak,  and,  with 
several  others  who  were  wounded,  repassed  the  Rhine  to  a 
town  on  this  side  of  the  river,  where  they  came  to  have  their 

*  Henry  Juliers  de  Bourbon,  son  of  the  prince. 

t  He  appeared  under  the  name  of  the  Chevalier  de  Longueville,  and 
was  accidentally  killed  at  Philipsbourg  in  1688,  by  a  soldier,  who  was 
shooting  at  a  snipe.     See  the  letter  of  the  8th  of  July  following 

90  LETTERS    TO 

wounds  dressed.  It  was  the  most  melancholy  sight  in  the 
world.  They  say  the  Chevalier  de  Monchevreuil,  who  was  at- 
tached to  M.  de  Longueville,  will  not  have  a  wound  dressed 
which  he  received  as  he  stood  next  to  him. 

I  have  received  a  letter  from  my  son :  he  is  very  much 
grieved  at  the  death  of  M.  de  Longueville.  He  was  not  in 
this  expedition,  but  he  is  to  be  in  another.  What  safety  can 
be  hoped  for  in  such  a  profession  ?  I  advise  you  to  write  to 
M.  de  la  Rochefoucault,  on  the  death  of  the  chevalier,  and  the 
wound  of  M.  de  Marsillac.  This  fatal  event  has  given  me  an 
opportunity  of  seeing  his  heart  .without  disguise:  for  con- 
stancy, worth,  tenderness,  and  good  sense,  he  infinitely  sur- 
passes any  one  I  have  ever  met  with  ;  his  wit  and  humor  are 
nothing  in  comparison.  I  will  not  amuse  myself  at  presert 
with  telling  you  how  much  I  love  you.  I  embrace  M.  •'  *, 
Grignan,  and  the  coadjutor. 

The  same  evening,  at  10  o'clock. 
I  made  up  my  packet  two  hours  ago,  and  on  my  return  to 
town  I  found  a  letter  for  me,  with  the  news  that  a  peace  was 
concluded  with  Holland.  It  may  easily  be  imagined  that  th( 
Dutch  are  in  the  greatest  consternation,  and  glad  to  submit  tc 
any  terms ;  the  king's  success  is  beyond  all  that  has  ever  been 
known.  We  shall  once  more  breathe  again ;  but  what  i 
cruel  addition  must  this  be  to  the  grief  of  Madame  de  Longue* 
ville,  and  all  those  who  have  lost  children  and  near  relations  1 
I  have  seen  Marshal  du  Plessis  ;  he  is  greatly  afflicted,  but  de- 
means himself  like  a  brave  soldier.  His  lady*  weeps  bitterly ; 
the  countessf  is  only  disconcerted  at  not  being  a  duchess.  I 
think,  my  dear  child,  that  if  it  had  not  been  for  the  rashness 
of  M.  de  Longueville,  we  should  have  gained  Holland  without 
losing  a  man. 

*  Columba  de  Charron. 

f  Maria  Louisa  le  Loup  de  Bellenave. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  91 


Paris,  Friday,  Bee.  8,  1673. 
I  must  begin,  my  dear  child,  by  telling  you  of  the  death  of 
the  Count  de  Guiche  :  this  is  the  chief  subject  of  conversation 
at  present.  The  poor  youth  died  of  sickness  and  fatigue  in 
M.  de  Turenne's  army  ;  the  news  came  on  Tuesday  morning. 
Father  Bourdaloiie  went  to  acquaint  the  Marshal  de  Gram- 
mont  with  it ;  who  feared  it  the  moment  he  saw  him,  know- 
ing the  declining  state  of  his  son.  He  made  every  one  go  out 
of  his  chamber,  which  was  a  little  apartment  near  the  convent 
of  the  Capuchins,  and  as  soon  as  he  found  himself  alone  with 
Bourdaloiie,  he  threw  himself  upon  his  neck,  saying,  that  he 
guessed  but  too  well  what  he  had  to  tell  him ;  that  it  was  his 
death-stroke,  and  that  he  received  it  as  such  from  the  hand 
of  God ;  that  he  lost  the  true,  the  only  object  of  his  tender- 
ness and  natural  affection ;  that  he  had  never  experienced  any 
real  joy,  or  violent  grief,  but  through  his  son,  who  was  not  a 
common  character.  He  threw  himself  on  a  bed,  unable  to 
support  his  grief,  but  without  weeping,  for  this  is  a  situation 
that  denies  the  relief  of  tears.  Bourdaloiie  wept,  but  had  not 
yet  spoken  a  word.  At  last  he  began  to  comfort  him  with 
religious  discourse,  in  which  he  employed  his  well-known  zeal 
and  eloquence.  They  were  six  hours  together ;  after  which 
Bourdaloiie,  to  induce  him  to  make  a  complete  sacrifice,  led 
him  to  the  church  of  these  good  Capuchins,  where  vigils  were 
said  for  his  son.  He  entered  the  church  fainting  and  trem- 
bling, supported  more  by  the  crowd  that  pressed  round  him 
on  every  side,  than  by  his  feet ;  his  face  was  so  much  disfig- 
ured with  grief,  that  he  could  scarcely  be  known.  The  duke 
saw  him  in  this  lamentable  condition,  and  related  it  to  us  at 
Madame  de  la  Fayette's,  with  tears.  The  poor  marshal  re- 
turned at  last  to  his  little  apartment,  where  he  remains  like  a 
man  under  sentence  of  death.  The  king  has  written  to  him. 
No  one  is  admitted  to  see  him.     Madame  de  Monaco*  is  in- 

*  Catherine  Charlotte  de  G-rammonl  sister  to  the  Count  de  Guiche. 

92  LETTERS    TO 

consolable,  and  refuses  to  see  company.  Madame  de  Lou* 
vigny*  is  likewise  incapable  of  receiving  comfort ;  but  it  is 
only  because  sbe  is  not  at  all  grieved.  Do  not  you  wonder  at 
her  good  fortune  ?  She  is  in  a  moment  become  Duchess  of 
Grammont.  The  chancellor's  ladyf  is  transported  with  joy: 
the  Countess  de  Guiche  J  behaves  admirably  well ;  she  weeps 
when  they  tell  her  all  the  kind  things  her  husband  said,  and 
the  excuses  he  made  to  her  when  he  was  dying.  "  He  was  a 
very  amiable  man,"  she  says ;  "  I  should  have  loved  him  pas- 
sionately, if  he  had  loved  me  in  the  slightest  degree  ;  I  suf- 
fered his  contempt  with  grief,  and  his  death  affects  me  with 
pity ;  I  always  hoped  he  would  change  his  sentiments  with 
regard  to  me."  This  is  certainly  true  ;  there  is  not  the  least 
fiction  in  it.  Madame  de  Verneuil§  feels  real  concern  on  this 
occasion.  I  believe  it  will  be  sufficient,  if  you  only  desire  me 
to  make  your  compliments  to  her ;  so  you  need  only  write  to 
the  Countess  de  Guiche,  to  Madame  de  Monaco,  and  Madame 
de  Louvigny.  The  good  D'Hacqueville  has  been  desired  to  go 
to  Frase,  thirty  leagues  from  hence,  to  tell  the  news  to  Ma- 
dame de  Grammont,  and  to  carry  her  a  letter  written  by  the 
poor  youth  a  little  before  he  died.  He  made  a  full  confession 
of  the  faults  of  his  past  life,  asked  pardon  publicly,  and  sent  to 
tell  Vardes  a  great  many  things  which  may  benefit  him.  In 
a  word,  he  ended  the  comedy  well,  and  has  left  a  rich  and  a 
happy  widow.  ||     The  chancellor's  lady  is  so  fully  sensible,  she 

*  Maria  Charlotte  de  Castelnau,  sisteivin4aw  to  the  Count. 

f  Relict  of  the  late  Chancellor  Seguier,  and  grandmother  to  tha 
Countess  de  Guiche. 

}  Margaret  Louisa  Susan  de  Bethune  Sulli. 

§  Charlotte  de  Seguier,  mother  to  the  Countess  de  Guiche :  she  first 
married  the  Duke  de  Sulli,  and  afterward  Henry  de  Bourbon,  Duke  de 

|  She  was  married  afterward  to  the  Duke  de  Lude,  in  1688.  The 
Count  de  Guiche  had  been  the  lover  of  Henrietta  of  England.  He 
also  entered  into  the  intrigues  of  M.  de  Yardes.  He  had  made  a  bril- 
liant campaign  in  Poland,  and  to  him  was  owed  the  passage  of  the 
Rhine.    He  was  as  handsome  and  witty  as  he  was  brave. 


says,  of  the  little  happiness  this  poor  lady  must  have  had  in 
her  marriage,  that  she  thinks  of  nothing  but  repairing  this 
misfortune.  We  are  at  a  loss  for  a  proper  match  for  her. 
You  will  perhaps  name  for  her  M.  de  Marsillac,  as  we  did ; 
but  they  do  not  like  each  other :  the  other  dukes  are  too 
young.  M.  de  Foix  is  destined  for  Mademoiselle  de  Roque- 
laure.  Think  a  little  for  us,  for  the  affair  is  pressing.  I  have 
sent  you,  my  dear  child,  a  tedious  account,  but  you  sometimes 
tell  me  you  like  minuteness. 


Paris,  Monday,  Dec.  11,  1673. 

I  am  just  returned  from  St.  Germain,  where  I  have  been 
two  whole  days  with  Madame  de  Coulanges  at  M.  de  la  Roche- 
foucault's.  In  the  evening  we  went  to  pay  our  court  to  the 
queen,  who  said  a  thousand  obliging  things  to  me  of  you  ;  but 
if  I  were  to  enumerate  all  the  how-d'  ye-do's  and  compliments 
that  I  had,  both  from  men  and  women,  old  and  young,  who 
crowd  about  me  to  inquire  after  you,  I  should  have  to  name 
the  whole  court.  "  And  how  does  Madame  de  Grignan  do  ? 
and  when  will  she  return  ?"  and  so  on.  In  short,  only  figure 
me  to  yourself  in  the  midst  of  a  crowd  of  idle  people,  who, 
having  nothing  else  to  do,  would  every  one  ask  me  some  ques- 
tion, so  that  I  was  frequently  obliged  to  answer  twenty  at 
once.  I  dined  with  Madame  de  Louvois  :  it  was  who  should 
be  the  first  to  invite  me.  I  would  have  returned  yesterday, 
but  we  were  stopped  by  force  to  sup  with  M.  Marsillac  in  his 
enchanted  apartments  with  Madame  de  Thianges,  Madame 
Scarron,  the  duke,  M.  de  la  Rochefoucault,  M.  de  Vivonne, 
and  a  band  of  heavenly  music.  This  morning,  with  much  ado, 
we  got  away. 

A  quarrel  of  a  singular  nature  is  the  news  of  the  day  at 
St.  Germain.  The  Chevalier  de  Vendome,  and  M.  de  Vivonne 
are  the  humble  servants  of  Madame  de  Ludre.     The  chevalier 

94  LETTERS    TO 

expressed  a  wish  of  compelling  M.  de  Vivonne  to  res  gn  his 
pretensions.  But  on  what  grounds  ?  he  was  asked.  Why,  he 
would  fight  M.  de  Vivonne.  They  laughed  at  him.  It  was, 
however,  no  joke,  he  said,  he  would  fight  him ;  and  he  mounted 
his  horse  to  take  the  field.  But  the  best  of  the  story  was  Vi- 
vonne's  reply  to  the  person  who  brought  him  the  challenge. 
He  was  confined  to  his  room  by  a  wound  in  his  arm,  and,  re- 
ceiving the  condolence  of  the  whole  court,  ignorant  of  the 
threat  of  his  rival :  "  I,  gentlemen,"  said  he,  "  I  fight !  He 
may  fight  if  he  pleases,  but  I  defy  him  to  make  me  fight.  Let 
him  get  his  shoulder  broken,  let  the  surgeon  make  twenty  in- 
cisions in  his  arm,  and  then  " — it  was  thought  he  was  going 
to  say,  we  will  fight — "  and  then,"  said  he,  "  perhaps  we  may 
be  friends.  But  the  man  must  be  jesting  to  think  of  firing  at 
me  !  A  pretty  project,  truly  !  He  might  as  well  fire  at  the 
door  of  a  house.*  I  repent,  however,  having  saved  his  life  in 
crossing  the  Rhine,  and  will  do  no  more  such  generous  actions 
till  I  have  the  nativity  cast  of  those  I  intend  to  assist.  Would 
any  one  have  thought,  when  I  was  remounting  this  fellow  on 
his  horse,  that  a  few  weeks  afterward  .he  would  want  to  shoot 
me  through  the  head  for  my  kindness  ?"  This  speech,  from 
the  tone  and  manner  in  which  it  was  delivered,  had  so  droll 
an  effect,  that  nothing  else  is  talked  of  at  St.  Germain. 

I  found  your  siege  of  Orange  very  much  magnified  at  court. 
The  king  had  spoken  of  it  very  agreeably,  and  it  was  thought 
highly  honorable  to  M.  de  Grignan,  that,  without  the  king's 
order,  and  merely  to  follow  him,  seven  hundred  gentlemen 
should  have  assembled  upon  the  occasion  ;  for  the  king  having 
said  seven  hundred,  every  one  else  said  seven  hundred  ;  it  was 
added,  with  a  laugh,  that  two  hundred  litters  also  followed 
him.  But  it  is  thought,  seriously,  that  few  governors  could 
have  obtained  such  a  retinue. 

I  have  had  two  hours'  conversation  at  two  different  times 
with  M.  de  Pomponne.  He  exceeds  my  most  sanguine  hopes. 
Mademoiselle  de  Lavocat  is  in  our  confidence :  she  is  a  very 

*  M.  de  Yivonne  was  remarkably  corpulent 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  95 

amiable  girl.  She  knows  all  our  affairs — the  business  of  the 
syndic,  of  the  procurator,  our  gratuity,  opposition,  deliberation, 
etc.,  as  well  as  she  does  the  map  of  the  empire  and  the  interest 
of  princes  ;  that  is,  she  has  them  at  her  ringer's  end.  We  call 
her  the  little  minister.  We  have  interludes  in  our  conversa- 
tion, which  M.  de  Pomponne  calls  flashes  of  rhetoric  to  secure 
the  good  humor  of  the  audience.  There  are  some  points  in 
your  letters  I  can  not  reply  to  ;  we  often  answer  ridiculously 
when  we  write  from  such  a  distance.  You  know  how  grieved 
we  once  were  at  the  loss  of  some  town,  when  they  had  been 
rejoicing  for  ten  days  at  Paris  because  the  Prince  of  Orange 
had  raised  the  siege  ;  but  this  is  one  of  the  evils  of  distance. 
Adieu,  my  beloved  child ;  I  embrace  you  very  affectionately. 


Paris,  Friday,  Dec.  22,  1673. 

A  piece  of  political  news  is  just  come  into  my  head,  and, 
contrary  to  my  custom,  I  shall  give  it  you.  You  know  the 
King  of  Poland*  is  dead.  The  grand  "marshal,f  the  husband 
of  Mademoiselle  d'Arquien,  is  at  the  Itead  of  an  army  against 
the  Turks ;  he  has  lately  gained  so  complete  a  victory  over  them, 
that  fifteen  thousand  were  left  dead  on  the  field  of  battle,  two 
bashaws  are  taken  prisoners,  and  he  himself  occupies  their 
general's  tent.  After  so  distinguished  a  victory,  it  is  not  in  the 
least  doubted  that  he  will  be  declared  king,  especially  as  he 
is  at  the  head  of  such  an  army,  and  that  fortune  generally 
declares  in  favor  of  numerous  battalions.  This  piece  of  news 
has  given  me  pleasure. 

I  never  now  see  the  Chevalier  de  Buous.     He  is  enraged  at 

*  Michael  Koribert  Wiesnowieski,  who  died  November  1613. 

f  John  Sobieski,  elected  King  of  Poland,  May  20,  1674.  He  mar- 
ried the  grand-daughter  of  Marshal  d'Arquien,  who,  after  his  death, 
returned  to  France.  The  victory  Sobieski  gained  in  1685,  under  the 
walls  of  Vienna,  and  which  saved  the  emperor  and  the  empire,  is  still 
more  celebrated  than  that  which  is  here  spoken  of. 

96  LETTERS    TO 

not  being  made  a  chef  (Pescadre.*  He  is  at  St.  Germain,  and 
I  am  in  hopes  he  will  manage  his  affairs  so  well  as  to  ob- 
tain his  desire  at  last :  I  sincerely  wish  it.  The  Archbishop 
(of  Aries)  has  written  to  assure  me  of  the  joy  the  affair  of 
Orange  has  given  him,  and  that  he  hopes  that  of  the  Syndi- 
cate will  end  no  less  happily.  He  finds  himself  obliged  to 
own,  by  the  event,  that  your  vigor  was  of  more  service  than 
his  prudence,  and  that  from  your  example  he  is  become  a  per 
feet  bravo.     This  has  rejoiced  me  exceedingly. 

And  now,  my  dear  child,  when  I  picture  you  to  myself,  pale 
and  thin,  when  I  think  of  the  agitations  you  endure,  and  that 
the  slightest  degree  of  fever  endangers  your  life,  I  suffer  night 
and  day  from  apprehensions  for  you.  What  happiness  would  it 
be  to  have  you  with  me,  in  a  less  destructive  climate,  in  your 
native  air,  which  would  again  restore  you  to  health  and  vigor ! 
I  am  surprised  that  loving  you  as  the  Provencals  do,  they  do 
not  urge  this  remedy  to  you.  I  consider  you  as  having  been 
so  useful  till  now,  and  as  having  relieved  M.  de  Grignan  so 
much  in  all  his  affairs,  that  I  dare  not  regret  I  did  not  bring 
you  with  me  ;  but  when  every  thing  is  finished,  why  not  give 
me  this  satisfaction  ?  Adieu,  my  dearest  child,  I  am  very  im- 
patient to  hear  from  you.  You  would  throw  yourself  into  the 
fire,  you  say,  to  convince  me  of  your  love :  my  child,  I  have 
no  doubt  of  your  affection,  and  without  this  extraordinary 
proof  of  it,  you  may  give  me  a  much  more  pleasing  and  a 
much  more  convincing  one. 


Paris,  Friday,  December  29,  1673. 
•  M.  de  Luxembourg  is  a  little  pressed  near  Maestricht,  by 
the  army  of  M.  de  Montereif  and  the  Prince  of  Orange ;  he 
dares  not  venture  to  remove  his  camp,  and  he  must  perish 

*  A  rank  somewhat  inferior  to  that  of  rear-admiral. 
f  Governor  of  the  Spanish  Low  Countries. 

MADAME    DE     ORIGNAN.  97 

where  he  is,  unless  they  send  him  speedy  and  effectual  succor 
The  prince  is  to  set  out  four  days  hence  with  the  duke  and 
M.  de  Turenne  ;  the  latter  is  to  serve  under  the  two  princes, 
and  there  is  a  perfectly  good  understanding  between  the 
three.  They  have  twenty  thousand  foot,  and  ten  thousand 
horse ;  the  volunteers  and  those  companies  which  are  not  to 
march,  do  not  go,  but  all  the  rest  do.  La  Trousse  and  my 
son,  who  arrived  here  yesterday,  are  to  be  of  the  number ; 
they  have  scarcely  had  time  to  pull  off  their  boots  before  they 
are  in  the  mud  again.  The  rendezvous  is  appointed  at  Char- 
leroi,  on  the  16  th  of  January.  D'Hacqueville  has  written  you 
word  of  this,  but  you  will  read  it  more  distinctly  in  my  letter.* 
It  is  certainly  very  important  news,  and  has  occasioned  a  great 
bustle  every  where.  We  know  not  what  to  do  for  money.  It 
is  certain  M.  de  Turenne  is  not  on  terms  with  M.  de  Louvois, 
but  it  is  not  generally  known ;  and  while  he  continues  to 
keep  in  with  M.  Colbert,  there  will  be  nothing  said  about  it. 
This  afternoon  I  had  some  great  folks  with  me,  who  desired 
their  compliments  to  M.  de  Grignan,  and  to  Grignan's  wife. 
They  were  the  grand-master,  and  the  charmer. \  I  had  be- 
sides, Brancas,  the  Archbishop  of  Rheirns,  Charot,  La  Trousse, 
etc.,  who  all  in  like  manner  desired  to  be  remembered  to  you. 
They  talk  of  nothing  but  war.  The  charmer  knows  all  our 
affairs,  and  enters  admirably  into  our  little  perplexities.  He 
is  governor  of  a  province,  which  is  sufficient  to  give  him  an 
idea  of  our  feelings  on  those  subjects.  Adieu,  my  dearest 
child.     I  participate  in  all  the  joys  of  your  conquests. 


Paris,  Monday,  New  Tear's  Day,  1674 
I  wish  you  a  happy  year,  my  child ;  and  in  this  wish  I  com- 
prehend so  many  things,  that  I  should  never  have  done  if  I 

*  M.  d'Hacqueville  wrote  a  hand  very  difficult  to  be  read. 
\  The  Count  de  Lude  and  the  Duke  de  Yilleroi. 


98  LETTERS    TO 

were  to  enumerate  them.  I  have  not  yet  asked  leave  ior  you 
to  return  to  Paris,  as  you  feared ;  but  I  wish  you  had  heard 
what  La  Garde  said  of  the  necessity  of  your  coming  hither, 
that  you  may  not  lose  your  five  thousand  francs,  and  of  what 
he  thinks  proper  for  M.  de  Grignan  to  say  to  the  king.  If  it 
were  a  suit  which  you  were  obliged  to  solicit  against  any  one 
who  designed  to  injure  you,  you  would  doubtless  come  to  so- 
licit it ;  but  as  it  is  to  come  to  a  place  where  you  have  a 
thousand  other  affairs,  you  are  both  guilty  of  the  greatest  in- 
dolence. Ah,  what  an  enchanting  thing  is  indolence  !  you 
feel  its  power  too  much ;  read  La  Garde  upon  this  subject, 
chapter  the  first.  Consider,  in  the  mean  time,  that  you  would 
have  the  pleasure  of  seeing  the  king,  and  receiving  his  appro- 

The  edicts  are  revoked  which  gave  us  so  much  uneasiness 
in  our  province.  The  day  that  M.  de  Ghaulnes  declared  it  to 
the  States,  there  was  a  cry  of  "  Long  live  the  king !"  whioh. 
made  every  one  present  weep  for  joy.  They  embraced  each 
other,  broke  out  into  the  highest  expressions  of  rapture,  or- 
dered Te  Deum  to  be  sung,  made  bonfires ;  and  the  thanks  of 
the  public  were  given  to  M.  de  Chaulnes.  But  do  you  know 
what  we  are  to  give  the  king  as  a  mark  of  our  gratitude  ?  six 
hundred  thousand  livres,  and  as  much  more  by  way  of  a  vol- 
untary gratuity.  What  think  you  of  this  little  sum  ?  You 
may  judge  by  this  of  the  favor  that  has  been  done  us,  in  tak- 
ing off  the  burden  of  these  edicts. 

My  poor  son  has  arrived  here,  as  you  know ;  he  is  to  return 
on  Thursday,  with  many  others.  M.  de  Monterei  is  a  very 
clever  fellow ;  he  disturbs  the  whole  world,  he  fatigues  the 
army,  and  puts  it  out  of  condition  to  take  the  field,  and  begin 
the  campaign,  till  the  end  of  the  spring.  The  troops  were  all  at 
ease  in  winter-quarters ;  and  when,  after  a  tedious  march,  they 
are  arrived  at  Charleroi,  he  has  only  a  single  step  to  take  to 
make  good  his  retreat — till  when,  M.  de  Luxembourg  can  not 
be  extiicated.  By  appearances,  the  king  will  not  set  out  so 
soon  as  he  did  last  year.     If,  when  in  the  field,  we  had  to 

MADAME    DE     6RIGNAN.  99 

mate  an  attack  on  some  great  town,  or  the  enemy  would 
come  out  and  oppose  our  two  heroes,  as  we  should  probably 
beat  him,  peace  might  almost  be  depended  upon.  This  is 
what  is  said  by  persons  of  the  profession.  It  is  certain  that 
M.  de  Turenne  is  out  of  favor  with  M.  de  Louvois ;  but  as  he 
is  in  favor  with  the  king  and  M.  Colbert,  it  has  not  made 
much  noise. 

Five  ladies  of  the  palace  are  appointed  :  Madame  de  Sou- 
bise,  Madame  de  Chevreuse,  the  Princess  d'Harcourt,  Madame 
d'Albret,  and  Madame  de  Eochefort.  The  maids  of  honor  are 
to  serve  no  more,  and  Madame  de  Richelieu  as  a  lady  of 
honor,  is  also  discharged.  There  are  to  be  only  the  gentle- 
men in  waiting,  and  the  maitres-d'hotel,  as  formerly.  But 
that  the  queen  may  not  be  without  women,  Madame  de 
Richelieu  and  four  other  ladies  are  to  wait  constantly  behind 
her  chair.  Brancas  is  in  raptures  that  his  daughter*  is  so  well 
provided  for. 

The  Grand  Marshal  of  Poland  has  sent  a  letter  to  the  king, 
in  which  he  tells  his  majesty,  that  if  he  has  any  person  in 
view  to  raise  to  the  crown  of  Poland,  he  will  assist  him  with 
all  the  forces  under  his  command ;  and  if  not,  requests  his 
protection  and  assistance  for  himself.  The  king  has  promised 
it  to  him.  However^  it  is  imagined  he  will  not  get  himself 
elected,  because  he  is  not  of  the  established  religion  of  the 


Paris,  Friday,  Jan.  5,  1674. 
It  is  a  year  ago  this  very  day  since  we  supped  with  the 
archbishop  :  at  this  moment  perhaps  you  are  supping  with  the 
intendant :  I  am  afraid,  my  dear  child,  your  mirth  is  feigned. 
All  you  say  on  this  subject  to  me,  and  to  Corbinelli,  is  admi- 
rable.    My  heart  thanks  you  for  the  good  opinion  you  hav/» 

*  The  Princess  d'Harcourt. 

100  LETTERS    TO 

of  me,  in  believing  I  hold  in  abhorrence  all  villainous  proceed- 
ings.    You  are  not  deceived. 

M.  de  Grignan  tells  you  true  ;  Madame  de  Thiange  has  left 
off  paint,  and  covers  her  neck ;  you  would  hardly  know  hei 
in  this  disguise.  She  is  frequently  with  Madame  de  Longue- 
ville,  and  is  the  very  pink  of  modish  devotion.  But  she  is 
still  good  company,  and  has  not  at  all  the  air  of  a  recluse. 
I  dined  with  her  the  other  day  ;  a  servant  brought  her  a  glass 
of  liquor ;  she  turned  to  me  and  said,  "  The  fellow  does  not 
know  that  I  am  become  a  devotee ;"  this  made  us  all  laugh. 
She  spoke  very  naturally  of  her  intentions,  and  of  her  change. 
She  is  very  cautious  of  saying  any  thing  that  may  injure  the 
reputation  of  her  neighbor,  and  stops  short  when  any  thing  oi 
that  nature  escapes  her  ;  for  my  part,  I  think  her  more  agree- 
able than  ever.  Wagers  are  laid  that  the  Princess  d'Har- 
court  will  not  turn  nun  these  twelve  months,  now  she  is  be- 
come a  lady  of  the  palace,  and  paints  again :  this  rouge  is  the 
law  and  the  prophets ;  it,  is  the  great  point  that  our  new  de- 
votion turns  upon.  As  for  the  Duchess  d'Aumont,  her  taste 
is  burying  the  dead.*  They  say  the  Duchess  de  Charost  kills 
people  for  her,  with  ill-compounded  medicines,  and  then  buries 
them  in  a  religious  retreat.  The  Marchioness  d'Huxelles  is 
very  good  ;  but  La  Marans  is  more  than  good.  Madame  de 
Schomberg  tells  me  very  seriously  that  she  is  of  the  first 
order  for  seclusion  and  penitence,  not  admitting  any  society, 
and  refusing  even  the  amusements  of  devotion ;  in  a  word, 
she  is  a  penitent  in  the  true  sense  of  the  word,  and  in  all  the 
simplicity  of  the  primitive  church. 

The  ladies  of  the  palace  are  kept  in  great  subjection.  The 
king  has  explained  himself  upon  this  subject,  and  will  have 
the  queen  always  attended  by  them.     Madame  de  Eichelieu, 

*  If  we  may  believe  Bussy,  she  rendered  a  service  of  a  different  kind 
to  the  living.     The  Duchess  of  Charost  was  the  daughter  of  the  Super- 
intendent Fouquet.     She  apparently  had  her  recipe  from  her  grand- 
n  ;ther,  by  whom  we  have  a  printed  collection  in  two  volumes,  under 
ie  title  of  Family  Recipes  by  Madame  Fouquet. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  101 

though  she  does  not  serve  any  longer  at  table,  is  always  pres- 
ent when  the  queen  dines,  with  four  ladies,  who  wait  by  turns. 
The  Countess  d'Ayen*  is  the  sixth  :  she  does  not  like  the  con- 
finement of  this  attendance,  and  of  being  constantly  at  ves- 
pers, sermons,  and  other  religious  ceremonies ;  but  there  is  no 
perfect  happiness  in  this  world.  The  Marchioness  de  Castel- 
nau  is  fair,  blooming,  and  perfectly  recovered  from  her  grief. 
I? Eclair,  they  say,  has  only  changed  her  apartment  at  court, 
not  very  much  to  her  satisfaction.  Madame  de  Louvigny  does 
not  seem  sufficiently  delighted  at  her  good  fortune.  She  is 
thought  unpardonable  for  not  adoring  her  husband  in  the 
same  manner  as  when  she  was  first  married ;  this  is  the  first 
time  the  public  was  ever  offended  at  a  thing  of  this  nature. 
Madame  de  Brissac  is  beautiful,  and  follows  the  Princess  of 
Conti  like  her  shadow.  La  Coetquen  is  still  the  same  as  ever. 
She  has  a  petticoat  of  black  velvet,  embroidered  with  gold  and 
silver,  and  a  brocade  cloak.  This  dress  cost  her  an  immense 
sum  ;  and  when  she  thought  she  made  the  most  splendid  fig- 
ure imaginable,  every  one  said  she  was  dressed  like  an  actress  ; 
and  she  has  been  so  much  rallied  in  consequence,  that  she  has 
thrown  it  aside.  La  Manierosaf  is  a  little  vexed  at  not  being 
a  lady  of  the  palace.  Madame  de  Duras,  who  would  not  ac- 
cept this  honor,  laughs  at  her.  La  Troche  is,  as  usual,  very 
much  interested  in  your  affairs ;  but  I  can  not  express  how 
strongly  Madame  de  la  Fayette  and  M.  de  la  Rochefoucault 
have  your  interest  at  heart. 

Madame  de  la  Fayette  and  I  went  to  see  M.  de  Turenne  a 
few  days  ago  ;  he  has  a  slight  fit  of  the  gout.  He  received 
us  with  great  civility,  and  talked  much  of  you.  The  Cheva- 
lier de  Grignan  has  given  him  an  account  of  your  victories ; 
he  would  have  offered  you  his  sword  if  there  had  been  any 
occasion  for  it.  He  intends  to  set  out  in  three  days.  My  son 
went  yesterday  very  much  out  of  humor :  I  was  not  less  so, 
at  this  ill-judged  and  in  every  respect  disagreeable  journey. 

*  A  feigned  name. 

f  Mary  Frances  de  Bournouville,  afterward  Marchioness  de  Noaillea 

102  LETTERS     TO 

The  dauphin  saw  Madame  Schomberg  the  other  day ;  they 
told  him  his  grandfather  had  been  in  love  with  her  :  he  asked 
in  a  whisper,  "  How  many  children  has  she  had  by  him  ?" 
They  informed  him  of  the  manners*  of  that  time. 

The  Duke  du  Mainef  has  been  seen  at  court,  but  he  has  not 
yet  visited  the  queen :  he  was  in  a  coach,  and  saw  only  his 
father  and  mother. 

The  Chevalier  de  Chatillon  has  no  longer  any  thing  to  seek 
for ;  his  fortune  is  made.  Monsieur  chose  rather  to  give  him 
the-  office  of  captain  of  his  guards,  than  Mademoiselle  de 
Grancey  that  of  lady  of  the  wardrobe.  This  young  man 
therefore  has  the  post  of  Vaillac,  and  is  well  provided  for : 
they  say  Vaillac  is  to  have  D'Albon's,  and  that  D'Albon  is  dis- 
carded. I  told  you  how  our  States  ended,  and  that  they  re- 
purchased the  edicts  at  two  millions  six  hundred  thousand 
livres,  and  gave  the  same  sum  as  a  gratuitous  gift,  making  to- 
gether ^ve  million  two  hundred  thousand  livres ;  that  the  air 
was  rent  with  cries  of  "  Long  live  the  king !"  that  we  had 
bonfires,  and  sung  Te  Deum,  because  his  majesty  was  kind 
enough  to  accept  it.  Poor  Sanzei  is  ill  with  the  measles  ;  it  is 
a  disorder  that  soon  passes,  but  is  alarming  from  its  violence. 

I  see  no  reason  to  ask  the  king's  pardon  for  the  humane 
gentleman  who  was  guilty  of  assassination  ;  the  crime  is  of 
too  black  a  nature.  The  criminals  who  were  pardoned  at 
Rouen  were  not  of  this  stamp  ;  it  is  the  only  crime  the  king 
refuses  to  pardon.  So  Beavron  has  mentioned  it  to  the  Abbe 
de  Grignan. 

*  Madame  de  Schomberg  who  is  here  spoken  of,  mother  of  the  mar- 
shal then  living,  captivated  Louis  XIII.  when  she  was  only  a  maid  of 
honor,  by  the  name  of  Mademoiselle  d'Hautefort.  The  king's  gal- 
lantry exacted  so  little,  that  she  even  jested  upon  the  subject,  and  said 
he  talked  to  her  of  nothing  but  dogs,  horses,  and  hunting.  She  was 
handsome  and  discreet.  She  attached  herself  to  Queen  Anne  of  Aus- 
tria, and  shared  her  disgrace  during  the  life  of  Louis  XIII.  She  after- 
ward quarreled  with  her  during  the  regency,  for  having  spoken  too 
freely  against  Cardinal  Mazarin. 

f  The  king's  eldest  son  by  Madame  de  Montespan. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  103 

I  have  heard  the  ladies  at  the  palace  spoken  of  in  a  way 
that  made  me  laugh.  I  said  with  Montaigne,  "  Let  us  avenge 
ourselves,  by  slandering  them."  It  is,  however,  true  that  they 
are  under  extreme  subjection. 

The  report  still  prevails,  that  the  prince  sets  out  on  Monday. 
The  same  day  M.  de  Saint  Luc  is  to  espouse  Mademoiselle  de 
Pompadour ;  about  this  I  am  quite  indifferent. 

Adieu,  my  dear ;  this  letter  is  growing  too  long ;  I  conclude 
it  for  no  other  reason  but  because  every  thing  must  have  an 
end.  I  embrace  Grignan,  and  beg  him  to  forgive  me  for 
opening  Madame  de  Guise's  letter ;  I  was  very  desirous  to  see 
her  style  ;  my  curiosity  is  satisfied  forever. 

Guilleragues  said  yesterday,  that  Pelisson^ 
mission  men  have  to  be  ugly.* 


Paris,  Friday, 

Well,  your  peace  is  then  concluded  at  last.  The  Archbishop 
of  Rheims  and  Brancas  received  their  letters  before  I  did 
mine ;  M.  de  Pomponne  sent  to  inform  me  of  this  important 
event  from  St.  Germain  ;  I  was  ignorant,  however,  of  the  par- 
ticulars, but  now  I  know  all.  I  advise  you,  my  child,  to  reg- 
ulate your  conduct  by  circumstances  ;  and  since  it  is  the  king's 
will  that  you  should  be  friendly  with  the  bishop,f  endeavor  to 
obey  him.  But  to  return  to  St.  Germain  :  I  was  there  three 
days  ago  ;  I  went  first  to  M.  de  Pomponne's,  who  had  not  yet 
applied  for  your  leave  of  absence,  but  is  to  send  for  it  to-day 
From  thence  we  went  to  the  queen's  ;  I  was  with  Madame  de 
Chaulnes ;  there  was  nobody  to  talk  but  me,  and  you  may  be 
sure  I  was  not  deficient.  The  queen  said  without  hesitation 
that  you  had  been  absent  for  more  than  three  years,  and  that 

*  An  expression  that  is  become  common,  but  which  was  new  at 
that  time,  or  it  would  not  have  been  worth  noticing. 
f  Of  Marseilles. 

104  LETTERS    TO 

it  was  time  for  your  return.  From  court  we  went  to  Madame 
de  Colbert's,  who  is  extremely  civil  and  well  bred.  Mademoi- 
selle de  Blois*  danced ;  she  is  very  pleasing  and  graceful. 
Desairs  says  she  is  the  only  one  who  reminds  him  of  you  :  he 
asked  me  what  I  thought  of  her  dancing,  for  my  applause  was 
required,  and  I  gave  it  with  the  greatest  readiness.  The 
Duchess  de  la  Valliere  was  there ;  she  calls  her  little  daughter 
mademoiselle,  and  the  young  princess  in  return  calls  her  pretty 
mamma.  M.  de  Vermandois  was  there  too.  No  other  chil- 
dren have  yet  made  their  appearance.  We  afterward  went 
to  pay  our  respects  to  monsieur  and  madame ;  the  former  has 
not  forgotten  you,  and  I  never  fail  to  present  your  dutiful  ac- 
knowledgments to  him.  I  met  Vivonne  there,  who  accosted 
me  with,  "  Little  mamma,  I  beg  you  will  embrace  the  Gov- 
ernor of  Champagne"! — "  And  pray  who  is  he  ?"  said  I. — 
"  Myself,"  replied  he. — "  You  !"  said  I ;  "  pray  who  told  you 
so  ?" — "  The  king  has  just  informed  me  of  it."  I  instantly  con- 
gratulated him.  The  Countess  de  Soissons  was  in  hopes  of 
getting  this  post  for  her  son. 

There  is  no  talk  of  taking  the  seals  from  the  chancellor  ;J 
the  good  man  was  so  surprised  at  this  additional  honor,  that 
he  began  to  fear  a  snake  in  the  grass,  and  could  not  compre- 
hend the  reason  of  being  thus  loaded  with  dignities  :  "  Sire," 
said  he  to  the  king,  "  does  your  majesty  intend  to  take  the 
seals  from  me  ?" — "  No,  no,  chancellor,"  replied  the  king,  "  go, 
sleep  in  peace."  And,  indeed,  they  say  he  is  almost  always 
asleep ;  there  are  many  wise  conjectures  on  the  subject,  and 
people  can  not  understand  the  reason  of  this  augmentation  of 

The  prince  set  out  the  day  before  yesterday,  and  M.  de 
Turenne  is  to  follow  to-day.  Write  to  Brancas  to  congratulate 

*  She  had  been  educated  by  Madame  Colbert. 

jf  This  government  was  vacated  by  the  death  of  Eugene  Maurice,  oi 
Saxony,  Count  de  Soissons,  which  happened  June  7,  1673. 

{  Stephen  d'Aligre  was  keeper  of  the  seals  in  1672,  upon  the  death 
of  Chancellor  Seguier,  who  was  made  Chancellor  of  France  in  1674. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN,  105 

him  on  his  daughter's  being  in  the  queen's  household,  for  he 
is  very  proud  of  it.  La  Troche  returns  you  many  thanks  for 
your  kind  remembrance  of  her.  Her  son  has  still  nose  enough 
to  lose  half  of  it  at  the  next  siege,  without  the  loss  being  very 
apparent.  It  is  said  that  the  Dew*  begins  to  be  less  friendly 
with  the  Torrent,  and  that  after  the  siege  of  Maastricht,  they 
entered  into  a  league  of  mutual  confidence,  and  saw  the  Fire 
and  the  Snow  every  day  of  their  lives.  You  know  all  this 
could  not  last  long  without  occasioning  great  tumult,  nor  with- 
out being  discovered.  The  Hail\  seems  to  me,  with  respect 
to  the  reconciliation  between  you  and  him,  like  a  man  who 
goes  to  confession,  and  keeps  one  great  sin  upon  his  conscience 
— by  what  other  name  can  you  call  the  trick  he  has  played 
you  ?  Still  the  wise  heads  say  you  must  speak,  you  must  ask, 
you  have  time,  and  that  is  sufficient ;  but  do  not  wonder  at 
the  faggoting  of  my  letters.  I  leave  one  subject,  you  think  I 
have  done  with  it,  and  suddenly  I  resume  it  again,  versi  sciolti. 
Do  you  know  that  the  Marquis  de  Sessac  is  here,  that  he  will 
have  a  situation  in  the  army,  and  will  probably  soon  be  pre- 
sented to  the  king  ?     This  is  manifestly  predestination. 

Corbinelli  and  I  talk  of  Providence  every  day,  and  we  say, 
as  you  know,  from  day  to  day  and  hour  to  hour,  that  your 
journey  is  determined.  You  are  very  glad  that  you  have  not 
to  answer  for  this  affair,  for  a  resolution  is  a  wonderful  thing 
for  you,  quite  a  wild  beast.  I  have  seen  you  a  long  time  de- 
ciding on  a  color :  it  is  a  proof  of  a  too  enlightened  mind, 
which,  seeing  at  one  glance  all  the  difficulties,  remains  sus- 
pended, as  it  were,  like  Mohammed's  tomb :  such  was  M.  Bignon, 
the  greatest  wit  of  the  age ;  I,  who  am  the  least  of  the  present 
age,  hate  uncertainty,  and  love  decision.     M.  de  Pomponne 

*  The  Dew,  the  Torrent,  the  Fire,  and  the  Snow,  etc.,  are  ciphers  be- 
tween the  mother  and  daughter.  These  ciphers  do  not  always  mean 
the  same  persons.  In  this  place,  it  seems  that  Madame  de  Montespan 
is  the  Torrent,  Madame  de  Valliere  the  Dew,  the  king  is  the  Fire,  and 
the  Snow  represents  the  queen. 

f  Apparently  the  Bishop  of  Marseilles. 


106  LETTERS     TO 

informs  me  you  received  your  leave  of  absence  to-day ;  I  am 
consequently  ready  to  do  every  thing  you  wish,  and  to  follow, 
or  not  to  follow,  the  advice  of  your  friends. 

It  is  said  here  that  M.  de  Turenne  has  not  yet  begun  his 
march,  and  that  there  is  no  further  occasion  for  it,  because  M. 
de  Monterei  has  at  last  retreated,  and  M.  de  Luxembourg  is 
freed,  with  the  assistance  of  five  or  six  thousand  men,  whom 
M.  de  Schomberg  assembled,  and  with  whom  he  so  extremely 
harassed  M.  de  Monterei,  that  he  was  obliged  to  retire  with 
his  troops.  The  prince  is  to  be  recalled  and  all  our  poor 
friends  with  him.     This  is  the  news  of  the  day. 

The  ball  was  dull,  and  ended  at  half  past  eleven.  The  king 
led  out  the  queen ;  the  dauphin,  madame ;  monsieur,  made- 
moiselle ;  the  Prince  de  Conde,  the  great  mademoiselle ;  the 
Count  de  Roche-sur-Yon,  Mademoiselle  de  Bois,  handsome  as 
an  angel,  dressed  in  black  velvet,  with  a  profusion  of  diamonds, 
and  an  apron  and  stomacher  of  point  lace.  The  Princess 
d'Harcourt  was  as  pale  as  the  Commandeur  in  the  play  Du  Fes- 
tin  de  Pierre.  M.  de  Pomponne  has  desired  me  to  dine  with 
him  to-morrow,  to  meet  Despreaux,  who  is  to  read  his  Art  of 


Parts,  Monday,  January  15,  1674. 
Saturday  last  I  dined  with  M.  de  Pomponne,  as  I  told  you, 
and  was  there  till  five  o'clock,  enchanted,  transported,  enrap- 
tured with  the  beauties  of  Despreaux's  Art  of  Poetry. 
D'Hacqueville  was  there,  we  often  talked  of  the  pleasure  you 
would  have  received  from  it.  M.  de  Pomponne  recollected 
that  one  day  when  you  were  a  very  little  girl  at  your  Uncle 
de  Sevigne's,  you  got  behind  a  large  window  with  your 
brother,  and  said  you  were  a  prisoner,  a  poor  unfortunate 
princess  driven  from  your  father's  house ;  your  brother,  who 
was  as  hansome  as  yourself,  and  you  were  as  handsome  as  an  an- 
gel, played  his  part  extremely  well.  You  were  nine  years  of  age. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  107 

He  made  me  remember  the  day  perfectly.  He  never  forgets 
one  moment  that  he  has  seen  you,  and  promises  himself  great 
pleasure  in  seeing  you  again,  which  is  very  gratifying  to  me.  I 
own  to  you,  my  dear,  that  my  heart  is  bursting  with  joy, 
but  I  shall  conceal  it  till  I  know  your  resolution. 

M.  de  Villars  is  returned  home  from  Spain,  and  has  given 
us  a  thousand  amusing  anecdotes  respecting  the  Spaniards.  I 
have  at  length  seen  La  Marans  in  her  cell,  for  it  is  nothing  else. 
I  found  her  quite  in  dishabille,  not  a  single  hair  to  be  seen, 
with  a  coarse  coif  of  old  Venice  point,  a  black  handkerchief 
on  her  neck,  a  faded  gray  gown,  and  an  old  petticoat.  She 
seemed  very  glad  to  see  me ;  we  embraced  each  other  tenderly. 
She  does  not  seem  at  all  changed.  We  began  the  conversa- 
tion by  talking  of  you ;  she  appears  to  love  you  as  well  as  she 
ever  did,  and  seemed  so  humble  that  it  is  impossible  to  help 
loving  her.  We  then  talked  of  the  religious  life  she  had  lately 
embraced.  She  assured  me  it  was  true  that  God  had  vouch- 
safed her  a  great  portion  of  grace,  of  which  she  had  the  most 
grateful  sense  ;  that  this  grace  consists  in  great  faith,  profound 
love  of  God,  horror  of  the  world  and  its  vanities,  and  a  thor- 
ough distrust  of  herself,  adding,  that  if  she  were  to  go  abroad 
for  only  an  hour,  this  divine  spirit  would  evaporate.  In  short, 
she  seems  to  preserve  it  carefully  in  her  solitude  like  a  bottle 
of  fine  perfume  ;  she  believes  the  world  would  make  her  lose 
this  precious  liquor,  and  she  even  fears  the  parade  of  devotion 
might  spill  it.  Madame  de  Schomberg  says  she  is  not  to  be 
compared  to  Madame  de  Marans.  Her  savage  disposition  is 
softened  into  a  passion  for  retirement ;  the  disposition  does  not 
change  ;  she  is  even  exempt  from  the  folly  common  to  most 
women,  to  love  their  confessor ;  she  does  not  approve  this  tie,  and 
never  speaks  to  him  but  at  confession.  She  goes  on  foot  to  her 
parish  church,  reads  all  our  books  of  religion,  works,  prays,  has 
a  fixed  time  for  every  thing,  takes  all  her  meals  in  her  own 
room,  sees  Madame  de  Schomberg  at  a  certain  hour,  hates 
news  as  much  as  she  used  to  like  it,  is  as  charitable  to  others 
as  she  used  to  slander  them,  and  loves  the  Creator  as  much  aa 

108  LETTERS    TO 

she  loved  the  creature.  We  laughed  a  good  deal  at  her  form* 
er  manners,  and  turned  them  into  ridicule.  She  has  not  the 
least  air  of  the  Collette  sisters.  She  speaks  very  sincerely  and 
very  agreeably  of  her  situation.  I  was  two  hours  with  her 
without  being  at  all  dull.  She  reproached  herself  even  for 
this  pleasure,  but  without  the  least  affectation ;  in  short,  she  is 
much  more  amiable  than  she  ever  was.  I  do  not  think,  my 
dear  child,  you  can  complain  that  I  have  not  been  particular 

I  have  just  received  your  letter  of  the  7th.  I  own  to  you,  my 
dearest,  that  the  joy  it  has  given  me  is  so  lively  that  my  heart 
can  scarcely  contain  it.  You  know  how  strongly  it  feels,  and 
I  should  hate  myself  if  I  were  so  warmly  interested  in  my 
own  affairs  as  in  yours.  At  last,  my  child,  you  are  coming  ; 
this  is  the  most  delightful  to  me  of  all.  But  I  am  going  to 
tell  you  something  you  do  not  expect,  which  is,  that  I  sol- 
emnly swear  to  you  that  if  M.  de  la  Garde  had  not  deemed 
your  journey  expedient,  and  that  if  it  really  were  not  so  for 
your  own  affairs,  I  would  not  have  taken  into  consideration, 
at  least  for  this  year,  the  ardent  desire  I  have  to  see  you,  nor 
what  you  owe  to  my  infinite  affection.  I  know  how  to  keep 
within  the  bounds  of  reason,  whatever  it  cost  me,  and  I  have 
sometimes  as  much  strength  in  my  weakness  as  those  who  are 
wiser.  After  this  sincere  confession  I  can  not  conceal  from 
you  that  I  am  penetrated  with  joy,  and  that,  reason  concur- 
ring with  my  wishes,  I  am,  at  the  moment  I  write  to  you, 
perfectly  satisfied,  so  that  I  think  of  nothing  now  but  of  re- 
ceiving you.  Do  you  know,  the  best  thing  after  yourself  and 
M.  de  Grignan,  would  be  to  bring  the  coadjutor  ?  You  will 
not  perhaps  always  have  La  Garde ;  and  if  he  fails  you,  you 
well  know  M.  de  Grignan  is  not  so  zealous  in  his  own  affairs 
as  in  those  of  the  king,  his  master.  He  has  a  religious  care 
of  those,  which  can  only  be  compared  to  his  negligence  with 
regard  to  his  own.  When  he  will  take  the  trouble  to  speak, 
no  one  does  it  better,  and  we  can  not  therefore  but  wish  it. 
You  are  not  like  Madame  de  Cauvisson,  to  act  alone ;  you 

MADAME    DE     GBI6NAN.  109 

must  wait  eight  or  ten  years.  But  M.  de  Grignan,  you,  and 
the  coadjutor,  would  do  admirably  together.  Cardinal  de 
Retz  is  just  arrived,  and  will  be  delighted  to  see  you.  What 
joy,  my  dear  child,  will  your  return  occasion !  but,  above  all 
things,  come  prudently.  It  is  to  M.  de  Grignan  I  give  this 
charge,  and  I  expect  him  to  be  accountable  to  me.  I  have 
written  to  the  coadjutor,  to  entreat  him  to  accompany  you. 
He  will  facilitate  our  audience  with  the  two  ministers,  and 
will  support  his  brother's  interest.  The  coadjutor  is  bold  and 
fortunate,  and  you  will  mutually  heighten  each  other's  conse- 
quence. I  could  talk  till  this  time  to-morrow  upon  the  sub- 
ject. I  have  written  to  the  archbishop.  Gain  my  point  with 
the  coadjutor,  and  give  him  my  letter. 

The  prince  has  come  back,  after  having  been  thirty  leagues 
on  his  journey.  M.  de  Turenne  did  not  go.  M.  de  Monterei 
has  withdrawn  his  forces,  and  M.  de  Luxembourg  is  now  at 
liberty.  Within  these  twenty-four  hours  the  chapel  at  St. 
Germain  has  been  robbed  of  a  silver  lamp,  worth  seventy 
thousand  francs,  and  six  candlesticks  of  the  same  metal,  each 
of  them  taller  than  I  am.  This  is  a  daring  insolence.*  The 
ropes  they  made  use  of  to  get  in  were  found  by  the  Richelieu 
gallery.  No  one  can  conceive  how  the  robbery  could  have 
been  committed,  for  there  are  guards  continually  going  that 
way,  and  patrolling  about  all  night. 

Do  you  know  that  peace  is  talked  of?  M.  de  Chaulnes  is 
since  come  from  Brittany,  and  is  to  set  out  again  immediately 
for  Cologne. 

*  The  Duke  of  Saint-Simon  relates  a  still  more  extraordinary  robbery 
that  took  place  at  Versailles.  In  one  night  all  the  gold  ornaments  and 
fringes  were  stolen  from  the  state  apartment,  from  the  gallery  to  the 
chapel.  Whatever  inquiries  were  made,  no  trace  could  be  found  of  the 
robber.  But  five  or  six  days  after,  the  king  being  at  supper,  an  enor- 
mous packet  fell  suddenly  upon  the  table  at  some  distance  from  him  ; 
it  contained  the  stolen  fringes,  with  a  note  fastened  to  it  with  these 
words,  "  Bontems,  take  thy  fringes  again,  the  pleasure  pays  not  half 
the  pain."    Saint-Simon  was  a  witness  of  this. 

110  LETTERS    TO 


Paris,  Monday,  February  5,  1674. 

It  is  many  years  ago,  to-day,  that  there  came  into  the  world 
a  creature  destined  to  love  you  beyond  every  other  thing  in 
existence.*  I  beg  you  not  to  suffer  your  imagination  to  wan- 
der either  to  the  right  hand  or  to  the  left : — Cet  homme  la^ 
sire,  c'etait  moi-meme.\ 

It  was  yesterday  three  years  that  I  felt  the  most  poignant 
grief  of  my  whole  life.  You  set  out  at  that  time  for  Provence, 
and  you  remain  there  still.  My  letter  would  be  very  long,  if 
I  attempted  to  express  all  the  sorrow  I  then  felt,  and  what  I 
have  since  felt,  in  consequence  of  this  separation.  But  to 
leave  this  melancholy  digression.  I  have  received  no  letters 
from  you  to-day.  I  know  not  whether  I  am  to  expect  any, 
and  I  fear  not,  as  it  is  so  late ;  I  have,  however,  expected 
them  with  impatience ;  I  wanted  to  hear  of  your  departure 
from  Aix,  and  to  be  able  to  compute,  with  some  exactness,  the 
time  of  your  return.  Every  one  teases  me,  and  I  know  not 
what  to  answer.  I  think  but  of  you  and  your  journey.  If  I 
receive  any  letters  from  you  after  this  is  sent  away,  you  may 
make  yourself  perfectly  easy ;  for  1  will  certainly  take  care 
to  do  whatever  you  desire  me. 

I  write  to-day  a  little  earlier  than  usual.  M.  Corbinelli,  and 
Mademoiselle  de  Meri,  are  here,  and  have  dined  with  me.  I 
am  going  to  a  little  opera  of  Moliere's,  that  is  to  be  sung  at 
Jellison's.  It  is  an  excellent  composition  ;  the  prince,  the 
duke,  and  the  duchess,  will  be  there.  I  shall,  perhaps,  sup  at 
Gourville's,  with  Madame  de  la  Fayette,  the  duke,  Madame  de 
Thianges,  and  M.  de  Vivonne,  of  whom  we  are  to  take  our 
leave,  as  he  sets  out  from  hence  to-morrow.  If  this  party  is 
broken  up,  I  shall,  perhaps,  go  to  Madame  de  Chaulnes,  where 

*  She  refers  to  her  birth-day,  5th  February,  1626. 
f  A  line  of  Marot,  iu  an  epistle  to  Francis  I.     This  man,  sire,  was 


t  am  earnestly  invited,  as  well  by  the  mistress  of  the  house  as 
by  Cardinals  de  Retz  and  Bouillon,  who  made  me  promise 
them.  The  first  of  fhese  is  very  impatient  to  see  you;  he 
loves  you  dearly. 

It  was  apprehended  that  Mademoiselle  de  Blois  had  the 
small-pox,  but  it  does  not  prove  so.  There  is  not  a  word  said 
of  the  news  from  England ;  this  makes  me  conclude  there  is 
nothing  good  from  thence.  There  has  been  only  a  ball  or  two 
at  Paris  during  the  whole  carnival ;  there  were  masques  at 
noon,  but  not  many.  It  is  a  very  dull  season.  The  assemblies 
at  St.  Germain  are  mortifications  for  the  king,  and  only  show 
the  falling  off  of  the  carnival. 

Father  Bourdaloue  preached  a  sermon  on  the  purification 
of  our  Lady,  which  transported  every  body.  There  was  such 
energy  in  his  discourse  as  made  the  courtiers  tremble.  Never 
did  preacher  enforce  with  so  much  authority,  and  in  so  noble 
a  manner,  the  great  truths  of  the  Gospel.  His  design  was  to 
show  that  every  power  ought  to  be  subject  to  the  law,  from 
the  examph  of  our  Lord,  who  was  presented  at  the  temple. 
This  was  insisted  on  with  all  the  strength  and  clearness  im- 
aginable ;  and  certain  points  were  urged  with  a  force  worthy 
of  St.  Paul  himself. 

The  Archbishop  of  Rheims,  as  he  returned  yesterday  from 
St.  Germain,  met  with  a  curious  adventure.  He  drove  at  his 
usual  rate,  like  a  whirlwind.  If  he  thinks  himself  a  great  man, 
his  servants  think  him  still  greater.  They  passed  through 
Nanterre,  when  they  met  a  man  on  horseback,  and  in  an  in- 
solent tone  bid  him  clear  the  way.  The  poor  man  used  his 
utmost  endeavors  to  avoid  the  danger  that  threatened  him, 
but  his  horse  proved  unmanageable.  To  make  short  of  it,  the 
coach  and  six  turned  them  both  topsy-turvy ;  but  at  the  same 
time  the  coach  too  was  completely  overturned.  In  an  instant  the 
horse  and  the  man,  instead  of  amusing  themselves  with  having 
their  limbs  broken,  rose  almost  miraculously;  the  man  re- 
mounted, and  galloped  away,  and  is  galloping  still  for  aught  I 
know;  while   the  servants,  the  archbishop's  coachman,  and 

112  LETTERS    TO 

the  archbishop  himself  at  the  head  of  them,  cried  out,  "  Stop 
that  villain,  stop  him  ;  thrash  him  soundly."  The  rage  of  the 
archbishop  was  so  great,  that  afterward,  in  relating  the  ad- 
venture, he  said,  "if  he  could  have  caught  the  rascal,  he  would 
have  broke  all  his  bones,  and  cut  off  both  his  ears. 

Adieu,  my  dear,  delightful  child,  I  can  not  express  my  eager- 
ness to  see  you.  I  shall  direct  this  letter  to  Lyons ;  it  is  the 
third  ;  the  two  first  were  to  be  left  with  the  chamarier.  You 
must  be  got  thither  by  this  time  or  never. 


Paris,  Friday,  May  31,  1675. 

I  have  received  only  your  first  letter  yet,  my  dear  child ; 
but  that  is  invaluable.  I  have  seen  nothing  since  your  ab- 
sence, and  every  fresh  person  reminds  me  of  it ;  they  talk  to 

me  of  you ;  they  pity  me ;  they but  stop ;  is  it  not  such 

thoughts  as  these  we  should  pass  lightly  over  ?  Let  us  then 
do  so. 

I  was  yesterday  at  Madame  de  Verneuil's  in  my  way  from 
St.  Maur,  where  I  had  been  with  Cardinal  de  Retz.  At  the 
Hotel  de  Sully,  I  met  Mademoiselle  de  Launoi,*  who  is  just 
married  to  the  old  Count  de  Mbntrevel ;  the  wedding  was  kept 
there  ;  you  never  saw  a  bride  so  pert ;  she  bustles  about  the 
house,  and  calls  husband,  as  if  she  had  been  married  for 
twenty  years.  This  same  husband  of  hers,  you  must  know,  is 
very  much  troubled  with  the  ague ;  he  expected  his  fit  the 
day  after  he  was  married,  but  missed  it ;  upon  which  Fieubet 
said,  "  We  have  found  a  remedy  for  the  ague,  but  who  can 
tell  us  the  dose  ?"  Mesdames  des  Castelnau,  Louvigny,  Sulli, 
and  Fiesque,  were  there.     I  leave  you  to  guess  what  these 

*  Adriana-Philippa-Theresa  de  Launoi,  who  had  been  maid  of  honor 
to  the  queen,  was  married  to  James-Mary  de  la  Baume  Montrevel  in 
1675,  and  not  in  1672,  as  it  is  said  by  mistake  in  the  history  of  the 
great  officers  of  the  crown. 

MADAME    DE     GRIG^AN.  113 

charming  women  said  to  me.  My  friends  are  too  solicitous 
about  me  *,•  they  harass  me ;  but  I  do  not  lose  a  single  mo- 
ment that  I  can  spend  with  our  dear  cardinal.  These  letters 
will  inform  you  of  the  arrival  of  the  coadjutor ;  I  saw  and  em- 
braced him  this  morning.  He  is  to  have  a  conference  this 
evening  with  his  eminence  and  M.  d'Hacqueville  on  the  steps 
he  is  to  take.     He  has  hitherto  remained  incog. 

The  Duchess  has  lost  Mademoiselle  d'Enghein  ;  one  of  her 
sons  is  going  to  die  besides ;  her  mother  is  ill ;  Madame  de 
Langeron  is  already  under  ground  ;  the  prince  and  the  duke 
in  the  army  ;  ample  subjects  for  tears,  and,  as  I  am  told,  she 
is  not  sparing  of  them.  I  leave  D'Hacqueville  to  tell  you  the 
news  of  the  war ;  and  the  Grignans  to  write  to  you  about  the 
chevalier  ;  if  he  should  return  hither,  I  will  take  as  much  care 
of  him  as  of  my  own  son.  I  imagine  you  are  now  upon  the 
tranquil  Saone  ;  our  minds  ought  to  resemble  this  calm  view, 
but  our  hearts  perpetually  seduce  them  ;  mine  is  wholly  with 
my  daughter.  I  have  already  told  you,  that  my  greatest  diffi- 
culty is  to  divert  my  thoughts  from  you,  for  they  all  tend  to 
the  same  point. 


Paris,  "Wednesday,  June  5,  16*75. 
I  have  not  received  any  of  your  letters  since  that  from  Sens ; 
you  will  therefore  easily  conceive  how  anxious  I  am  to  be  in- 
formed of  your  health  and  safety.  I  am  fully  persuaded  you 
have  written  to  me#  and  complain  of  nothing  but  the  manage- 
ment, or  rather  mismanagement  of  the  post.  According  to 
the  calculations  of  your  friends  here,  you  should  be  by  this 
time  at  Grignan,  unless  you  were  detained  at  Lyons  during 
the  holidays.  In  short,  my  dear  child,  I  have  accompanied 
you  step  by  step  all  the  way,  and  am  in  hopes  the  Rhone  be- 
haved with  proper  respect  to  you.  I  have  been  at  Livri  with 
Corbinelli ;  but  returned  here  with  all  the  haste  I  could,  that . 

114  LETTERS    TO 

I  might  not  lose  a  moment  in  seeing  our  dear  cardinal.  The 
great  affection  he  has  for  you,  and  the  long  friendship  which 
has  subsisted  between  him  and  me,  have  attached  me  to  him 
very  sincerely ;  I  see  him  every  evening  from  eight  till  ten, 
and  I  think  he  is  very  glad  to  have  me  with  him  till  his  bed- 
time. Our  conversation  is  constantly  about  you  ;  this  is  a 
subject  we  are  fond  of  expatiating  upon,  and  indeed  it  seems 
the  master-sentiment  of  both  hearts.  He  is  for  coming  hither, 
but  I  can  not  bear  this  house  when  you  are  not  in  it. 

The  nuncio  informed  him  yesterday  that  he  had  just  learned 
by  a  courier  from  Rome  that  he  was  appointed  to  a  cardinal- 
ship.  The  pope*  has  lately  made  a  promotion  of  his  crea- 
tures, as  it  is  called.  The  crowns  are  put  off  for  the  )  five 
or  six  years,  and  consequently  M.  de  Marseilles.f  The  .  incio 
told  Bonvoulour,  who  went  to  congratulate  him  on  his  promo- 
tion, that  he  hoped  his  holiness  would  not  now  accept  Cardi- 
nal de  Retz's  resignation  of  his  hat ;  that  he  should  use  all  his 
endeavors  to  dissuade  his  holiness  from  doing  so,  as  he  had 
the  honor  of  being  his  colleague :  so  now  we  have  another 
cardinal,  Cardinal  de  Spada.  Cardinal  de  Retz  sets  out  on 
Tuesday ;  I  dread  the  day ;  for  I  shall  suffer  extremely  in  lot 
ing  so  valuable  a  friend :  his  courage  seems  to  increase  in  pn 
portion  as  that  of  his  friend  diminishes. 

The  Duchess  de  la  Valliere  pronounced  her  vows  yester 
day  .J     Madame  de  Villars  promised  to  take  me  to  see  it ;  but 
by  some  misunderstanding  we  thought  we  should  not  get  places. 
Nothing  more,  however,  was  necessary  than  to  present  our- 

*  Clement  X. 

f  Toussaint  de  Forbin-Janson,  Bishop  of  Marseilles,  and  afterward 
Bish6p  of  Beauvois,  was  not  made  cardinal  till  1690,  at  the  promotion 
by  Alexander  VIII. 

\  For  more  than  three  years  she  had  only  received  at  court  insults 
from  her  rival  and  unkindness  from  the  king.  She  remained  there,  she 
said,  merely  from  a  spirit  of  penitence,  and  added,  "  When  the  life  of 
a  Carmelite  appears  to  me  too  severe,  I  have  only  to  call  to  mind  what 
those  persons  made  me  suffer,"  pointing  to  the  king  and  to  Madame  de 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  115 

,  selves  at  the  door,  though  the  queen  had  given  out  that  the 
admission  should  not  be  general ;  and,  after  all,  we  did  not  go. 
Madame  de  Villars  was  very  much  vexed  at  it.  The  beautiful 
duchess  performed  this  action  like  every  other  of  her  life,  in 
the  most  charming  manner  possible  :  she  is  surprisingly  hand- 
some :  but  you  will  be  astonished  to  hear  that  M.  de  Con- 
dom's (Bossuet's)  sermon  was  not  so  good  as  was  expected. 
The  coadjutor  was  there ;  he  will  tell  you  how  well  the  affair 
goes  on  with  respect  to  M.  de  Paris  and  M.  de  St.  Paul ;  but 
he  finds  the  shade  of  M.  de  Toulon  and  the  spirit  of  M.  de 
Marseilles  every  where. 

Madame  de  Coulanges  goes  from  hence  on  Monday  with 
Corbinelli :  this  deprives  me  of  my  companions.  You  know 
how  good  Corbinelli  is  to  me,  and  how  kindly  he  enters  into 
all  my  sentiments.  I  am  convinced  of  his  friendship,  and  feel 
his  absence  ;  but,  my  child,  after  having  lost  you,  of  what  else 
can  I  complain  ?  It  is  true  that  you  are  interested  in  my  com- 
plaints, because  he  is  one  of  those  with  whom  I  most  enjoyed 
the  consolation  of  speaking  of  you ;  for  you  must  not  im- 
agine, that  those  to  whom  I  can  not  speak  freely  are  as 
agreeable  to  me  as  those  who  enter  into  my  feelings.  You 
seem  to  me  to  be  apprehensive  that  I  make  myself  ridiculous, 
and  that  I  am  too  apt  to  divulge  my  sentiments  on  this  pleas- 
ing subject.  No,  no,  my  dear,  fear  nothing ;  I  am  able  to 
govern  the  torrent.  Trust  to  me,  and  let  me  love  you,  till  it 
shall  please  God  to  take  you  out  of  my  heart,  in  order  to 
place  himself  there  ;  for  you  can  yield  to  none  but  him.  In 
short,  my  heart  is  so  entirely  occupied  with,  and  so  full  of 
you,  that  finding  myself  incapable  of  any  other  thought,  I  have 
been  restrained  from  performing  the  devotions  of  the  season. 
Adieu,  my  dear  child,  for  the  present  I  shall  finish  my  let- 
ter this  evening. 

I  have  just  received  a  letter  from  Macon ;  I  can  not  yet 
read  it  without  the  fountain  playing  its  old  tricks :  my  heart 
is  so  extremely  sensible  that  the  least  thing  that  affects  it 
quite  overcomes  me.     You  may  imagine  that,  with  this  fine 

116  LETTERS    TO 

disposition,  I  frequently  meet  with  opportunities  to  try  it ;  bi^  , 
pray,  have  no  fears  for  my  health.  I  can  never  forget  the 
philosophy  you  inspired  me  with  the  evening  before  we  part- 
ed ;  I  improve  by  it  as  much  as  I  can ;  but  I  have  such  an 
habitual  weakness,  that  in  spite  of  your  good  lessons,  I  often 
yield  to  my  emotion. 

Our  cardinal  will  have  left  me  before  you  receive  this ;  it 
will  be  a  melancholy  day  to  me,  for  I  am  extremely  attached 
to  his  person,  his  merit,  his  conversation,  which  I  enjoy  as 
much  as  I  can,  and  the  friendship  he  expresses  for  me.  His 
soul  is  of  so  superior  an  order  that  it  is  not  to  be  expected 
that  his  life  should  be  attended  with  only  common  events.  lie 
that  makes  it  a  law  to  himself,  to  do  always  what  is  most  great 
and  heroic,  must  place  his  retreat  in  some  proper  part  of  his 
life,  like  a  shade  beautifully  disposed  in  a  piece  of  painting, 
and  leave  his  friends  to  lament  it. 

How  facetious  you  are,  my  child,  with  the  newspaper  in 
your  hand !  What !  can  you  derive  amusement  from  it  al- 
ready ?  I  did  expect  that  you  would  at  least  have  waited  till 
you  had  crossed  the  vile  Durance.  The  conversation  between 
the  king  and  the  prince  appears  to  me  very  humorous ;  I 
think  you  would  have  been  entertained  with  it  even  here.  I 
have  just  received  a  letter  from  the  chevalier,  who  is  well ; 
he  is  with  the  army,  and  has  only  had  five  attacks  of  the 
ague :  this  is  one  subject  of  uneasiness  less ;  but  his  letter 
which  is  full  of  friendship,  is  in  the  true  German  style  ;  for  he 
will  not  believe  a  syllable  of  the  retreat  of  Cardinal  de  Retz : 
he  desires  me  to  tell  him  the  truth,  which  I  shall  not  fail  to  do. 
I  shall  distribute  all  your  compliments,  and  I  am  sure,  they 
will  be  well  received ;  every  body  thinks  it  an  honor  to  be  re- 
membered by  you ;  M.  de  Coulanges  was  quite  proud  of  it. 
The  coadjutor  will  relate  to  you  the  success  of  his  journey  ; 
but  he  will  not  boast  that  he  was  on  the  point  of  being  stifled 
at  Madame  de  Louvois'  by  twenty  women,  who  each  supposed 
they  had  a  right  to  embrace  him  :  this  occasioned  a  confusion, 
an  oppression,  a  suffocation,  of  which  the  bare  idea  almost 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  117 

suffocates  me,  accompanied  by  the  most  high-flown,  reiterated, 
and  affected  compliments  that  it  is  possible  to  conceive  :  Ma- 
dame de  Coulanges  describes  the  scene  very  drolly.  I  wish  you 
may  have  the  company  af  Grignan  you  mention.  My  son  is 
well ;  he  sends  you  a  thousand  remembrances.  M.  de  Grig- 
nan  will  be  very  willing  for  me  to  embrace  him,  now  that  ht 
is  no  longer  occupied  with  the  bustle  of  the  boat. 


Paris,  Friday,  June  14,  1675. 
Instead  of  visiting  you  in  your  apartment,  my  dear  child,  I 
sit  down  to  converse  with  you  by  letter  ;  when  I  am  so  unfor- 
tunate as  not  to  have  you  with  me,  the  most  natural  consola- 
tion I  can  find  is  to  write  to  you,  to  receive  your  letters,  to 
speak  of  you,  or  to  take  some  step  in  your  affairs.  I  passed 
the  afternoon  yesterday  with  Cardinal  de  Retz ;  you  can  not 
possibly  guess  what  we  talk  of  when  we  are  together.  I  al- 
ways begin  by  telling  you  that  you  can  not  love  him  too  well, 
and  that  I  think  you  happy  in  having  so  firmly  fixed  the  kind- 
ness and  affection  he  before  felt  for  you.  Let  me  know  how 
you  bear  the  air  at  Grignan,  and  whether  it  has  already  begun 
to  prey  upon  you ;  how  you  enjoy  your  health  and  how  you 
look.  Your  picture  is  very  pleasing,  but  far  less  so  than  youi 
person,  without  reckoning  that  it  wants  the  power  of  speech 
Be  not  uneasy  about  my  health  ;  the  rule  I  observe  at  presen 
is,  to  be  irregular ;  I  am  not  sensible  of  any  indisposition ;  x 
dine  alone  ;  stay  at  home  till  five  or  six  o'clock,  and  go  in  the 
evening,  wljen  I  have  no  business  of  importance  to  keep  me 
within,  to  the  house  of  one  of  my  friends.  I  walk  or  ride  ac- 
cording to  the  distance,  but  I  make  eveiy  thing  yield  to  the 
pleasure  of  being  with  our  cardinal.  I  lose  not  a  moment  he 
can  spare  me,  and  he  is  very  obliging  in  this  respect.  I  shall 
feel  more  sensibly  his  departure  and  his  absence;  but  this 
does  not  prevent  my  indulging  myself  in  the  pleasure  of  his 

118  LETTEHS    TO 

conversation;  I  never  think  of  sparing  myself ;  after  having 
endured  the  pangs  of  parting  with  you,  I  have  nothing  to  fear 
from  any  less  tender  attachment.  Were  it  not  for  him,  and 
for  your  affairs,  I  should  go  a  little  to  Livri ;  but  I  make 
every  consideration  yield  to  these,  which  are  above  all  my 
little  pleasures. 

The  queen  went  to  see  Madame  de  Montespan  at  Clagny 
on  the  day  I  told  you  she  took  her  up  in  her  carriage  as  she 
passed  ;  she  went  into  her  room,  where  she  staid  half  an  hour ; 
she  then  went  into  M.  du  Vexin's,  who  was  a  little  indisposed 
and  afterward  took  Madame  de  Montespan  to  Trianon,  as  I 
informed  you.  Some  ladies  have  been  at  Clagny  ;  they  found 
the  fair  lady  so  occupied  with  the  building  and  enchantments 
that  are  preparing  for  her,  that  I  fancy  her  like  Dido  building 
Carthage ;  but  the  resemblance  will  not  hold  good  in  any 
other  respect.  M.  de  la  Rochefoucault  and  Madame  de  la 
Fayette  have  entreated  me  to  present  their  compliments  to 
you.  We  fear  you  will  have  too  much  of  the  grand-duchess.* 
A  prison  is  preparing  for  her  at  Montmartre,  with  which  she 
would  be  frightened,  if  she  did  not  hope  to  change  it ;  but  she 
will  be  caught ;  they  are  delighted  in  Tuscany  to  have  got  rid 
of  her.  Madame  de  Sully  is  gone ;  Paris  is  become  a  desert. 
I  already  wish  myself  out  of  it.  I  dined  yesterday  with  the 
coadjutor  at  the  cardinal's :  I  have  left  him  in  charge  to  in- 
form you  of  that  part  of  ecclesiastical  history.  M.  Jolif 
preached  at  the  opening  of  the  assembly  of  the  clergy,  but  as 
he  took  an  ancient  text,  and  preached  only  ancient  doctrine, 
his  sermon  seemed  a  piece  of  antiquity  altogether.  It  was  a 
fine  subject  too  for  reflection. 

The  queen  dined  to-day  at  the  Carmelites  de  Bouloi,  with 
Madame  de  Montespan,  and  Madame  de  Fontevraud ;  you  will 
see  how  this  friendship  will  end.  They  say  that  M.  de  Tu- 
renne,  as  it  were,  conducts  the  enemy's  troops  to  their  quar- 

*  Marguerite-Louise  d'Orleans,  daughter  of  Gaston  de  France  Duka 
of  Orleans,  and  of  Marguerite  de  Lorraine,  his  second  wife. 
f  Claude  Joli,  Bishop  of  Agen. 

MA      AME    DE     GRIGNAN,  119 

ters.  My  heart  is  uracil  oppressed  with  the  thoughts  of  losing 
the  cardinal ;  the  repeated  intercourse  of  friendship  and  con- 
versation which  has  so  lately  passed  between  us,  redoubles  my 
grief ;  he  goes  to-morrow.  I  have  not  yet  received  your  let- 
ters. Believe,  my  dear,  that  it  is  not  possible  to  love  you 
more  than  I  love  you ;  nothing  animates  me  but  what  has 
some  relation  to  you.  Madame  de  Rochebonne  has  written 
to  me  very  affectionately ;  she  told  me  with  what  feelings  you 
received  and  read  my  letters  at  Lyons.  I  see,  my  dear,  you 
are  grown  weak  as  well  as  I. 

D'Hacqueville  has  sent  you  such  a  large  packet  that  it 
would  be  ridiculous  to  pretend  to  tell  you  any  news  now. 


Paris,  Friday,  June  28,  1675. 

Madame  de  Vins  expressed  herself  very  affectionately  about 
you  yesterday,  my  dear ;  that  is,  in  her  way,  but  it  is  not  a  bad 
one ;  there  seemed  no  interlineations  in  what  she  said. 

We  have  no  news.  The  king's  good  star  has  brought  the 
Duke  of  Lorraine  and  the  Prince  of  Orange  across  the  Meuse 
again.  M.  de  Turenne  has  now  elbow-room,  so  that  we  are  no 
longer  confined  in  any  part.  I  am  rejoiced  that  my  letters 
are  so  pleasing  to  you ;  I  can  hardly  think  they  are  so  agree- 
able as  you  say  they  are.  I  know  they  have  no  stiffness  in 
them.  Our  good  cardinal  is  gone  to  solitude  ;  his  departure 
gave  me  sorrow,  and  reminded  me  of  yours.  I  have  long  re- 
marked our  cruel  separations  to  the  four  corners  of  the  world. 
It  is  very  cold  ;  we  are  obliged  to  have  a  fire,  and  so  are  you, 
which  is  more  astonishing  still.  You  judge  well  respecting 
Quantova  ;*  if  she  can  not  return  to  her  old  ways,  she  will  push 
her  authority  and  grandeur  beyond  the  clouds ;  but  she  must 
prepare  to  be  loved  the  whole  year  without  scruple  :  in  the 
mean  time  her  house  is  crowded  by  the  whole  court,  visits  are 

*  Quantova  is  Mme.  de  Montespan. 

120  LETTERS    TO 

paid  alternately,  and  her  consequence  is  unbounded.  Be  not 
uneasy  respecting  my  journey  to  Brittany  ;  you  are  too  good 
and  too  attentive  to  my  health.  I  will  have  nothing  to  do  with 
La  Mousse ;  the  dullness  of  others  weighs  me  down  more  than 
my  own.  I  have  no  time  to  go  to  Livri.  I  have  made  a  vow 
to  expedite  your  affairs.  I  shall  give  your  compliments  to 
Madame  de  Villars  and  Madame  de  la  Fayette.  The  latter 
has  still  a  little  fever  upon  her.  Adieu,  my  dearest  child,  be- 
lieve me  to  be  most  sincerely  yours. 


Paris,  Friday,  July  5,  1675. 
I  sit  down,  my  dear,  to  talk  to  you  a  little  of  our  good  car- 
dinal. I  send  you  a  letter  he  has  written  to  you.  Pray  ad- 
vise him  to  write  his  history,  it  is  what  all  his  friends  press 
him  much  to  do.  He  tells  me  he  is  very  well  pleased  with 
his  desert,  that  he  can  look  upon  it  without  the  least  horror, 
and  humbly  hopes  that  God  will  support  him  in  his  weakness. 
He  expresses  the  most  sincere  regard  for  you,  and  desires  me 
not  to  think  of  leaving  Paris  till  I  have  finished  all  your  affairs. 
He  remembers  the  time  when  you  had  the  ague,  and  that  he 
desired  me,  for  his  sake,  to  be  careful  of  your  health.  I  answei 
him  in  the  same  tone.  He  assures  me  that  the  most  frightful 
solitude  would  not  make  him  forget  the  friendship  he  owes  us. 
He  was  received  at  St.  Michael's*  with  transports  of  joy  ;  the 
people  were  all  on  their  knees,  and  received  him  as  a  protector 
sent  by  God.  The  troops,  who  were  quartered  there,  are  taken 
off,  the  officers  having  waited  on  him  for  his  orders  to  send 
away  or  to  leave  as  many  as  pleased.  Cardinal  Bonzi  has  as- 
sured me  that  the  pope,  without  staying  to  receive  our  cardi- 
nal's letter,  had  sent  him  a  brief,  to  tell  him  that  he  supposes, 
and  even  desires,  he  will  keep  his  hat ;  that  the  preserving  his 

*  The  place  of  the  cardinal's  retreat,  a  remote  village  in  the  province 
of  Brittany. 

MADAME    DE     QRIGNAN.  121 

rank  and  dignity  will  in  no  wise  impede  the  work  of  his  sal- 
vation ;  and  it  is  moreover  added,  that  his  holiness  expressly 
commanded  him  not  to  make  choice  of  any  other  place  of  re- 
tirement than  St.  Denis  ;  but  I  much  doubt  this  latter  part  of 
the  report,  so  I  only  tell  you  my  author  for  the  former  part. 

I  am  convinced  he  thinks  no  more  about  the  cassolette.  If 
I  had  desired  him  not  to  send  it,  it  would  only  have  served  to 
put  him  in  mind  of  it,  so  I  thought  it  was  best  to  take  no 
notice  of  it.  There  is  no  news  of  importance  stirring.  Every 
thing  goes  on  with  spirit  on  M.  de  Turenne's  side. 

The  other  day  there  was  a  Madame  Noblet,  of  the  Vitri 
family,  playing  at  basset  with  monsieur.  Mention  was  made 
of  M.  de  Vitri,  who  is  very  ill,  upon  which  she  said  to  mon- 
sieur, "  Ah  !  sir,  I  saw  him  this  morning,  poor  man !  his  face 
looked  just  like  a  stratagem"  What  could  she  mean  ?  Mad- 
ame de  Richelieu  has  received  such  kind  and  affectionate  let- 
ters from  the  king,  that  she  is  more  than  repaid  for  what  she 
has  done.*    Adieu,  my  dearest  and  best-beloved. 


Paris,  Friday,  July  19,  1675. 
Guess  from  whence  I  write  to  you,  my  dear — from  M.  de 
Pomponne's,  as  you  will  perceive  by  the  few  lines  which 
Madame  de  Vins  sends  you  with  this.  I  have  been  with  her, 
the  Abbe  Arnauld,  and  D'Hacqueville,  to  see  the  procession 
of  St.  Genevieve  pass ;  we  returned  in  very  good  time  ;  we 
were  back  by  two  o'clock ;  there  are  many  that  will  not  re- 
turn till  night.  Do  you  know  that  this  procession  is  consid- 
ered a  very  fine  sight.  It  is  attended  by  all  the  religious 
orders,  in  their  respective  habits,  the  curates  of  the  several 
parishes,  and  all  the  canons  of  Notre-Dame,  preceded  by  the 
archbishop  of  Paris  in  his  pontificals,  and  on  foot,  giving  his 

*  The  singular  attachment  of  the  queen  and  Madame  de  Montespan. 


122  LETTERS    TO 

benediction  to  the  right  and  left  as  he  goes,  till  he  comes  to 
the  cathedral ;  I  should  have  said  to  the  left  only,  for  the 
Abbe  de  St.  Genevieve  marches  on  the  right,  barefoot,  and  pre- 
ceded by  a  hundred  and  fifty  monks,  barefoot  also ;  the  cross 
and  miter  are  borne  before  him,  like  the  archbishop,  and  he 
gives  his  benedictions  in  the  same  manner,  but  with  great  ap- 
parent devotion,  humility,  and  fasting,  and  an  air  of  penitence, 
which  show  that  he  is  to  say  mass  at  Notre-Dame.  The  par* 
liament,  in  their  red  robes,  and  the  principal  companies  follow 
the  shrine  of  the  saint,  which  glitters  with  precious  stones,  and 
is  carried  by  twenty  men  clad  in  white,  and  barefoot.  The 
provost  of  the  merchants,  and  four  counselors,  are  left  as  hos- 
tages at  the  Church  of  St.  Genevieve,  for  the  return  of  this 
precious  treasure.  You  will  ask  me,  perhaps,  why  the  shrine 
was  exposed.  It  was  to  put  a  stop  to  the  continual  rains  we 
have  had,  and  to  obtain  warm  and  dry  weather,  which  hap- 
pened at  the  very  time  they  were  making  preparations  for  the 
procession,  to  which,  as  it  was  intended  to  obtain  for  us  all 
kinds  of  blessings,  I  presume  we  owe  his  majesty's  return,  who 
is  expected  here  on  Sunday  next.  In  my  letter  of  Wednesday 
I  will  write  you  all  that  is  worth  writing. 

M.  de  La  Trousse  is  conducting  a  detachment  of  six  thou- 
sand men  to  Marshal  de  Ore  qui,  who  is  to  join  M.  de  Turenne. 
La  Fare  and  the  others  remain  with  the  dauphin's  gens-d'armes, 
in  the  army  commanded  by  the  prince.  The  other  day  mad- 
ame  and  Madame  de  Monaco  took  D'Hacqueville,  at  the  Hotel 
de  Grammont,  to  walk  about  the  streets  and  the  Tuileries  in- 
cog. ;  as  her  highness  is  not  much  given  to  a  disposition  for 
gallantry,  her  dignity  sits  very  easy  on  her.  The  Tuscan 
princess  is  expected  every  hour.  This  is  another  of  the  bless- 
ings obtained  by  the  shrine  of  St.  Genevieve.  I  saw  one  of 
your  letters  yesterday  to  the  Abbe  de  Pontcarre  ;  it  is  the  best 
letter  that  ever  was  written ;  there  is  no  part  of  it  which  has 
not  some  point  and  wit.  He  has  sent  a  copy  of  it  to  his  emi- 
nence, for  the  original  is  kept  as  sacred  as  the  shrine. 

Adieu,  my  dearest  and  best-beloved  ;  you  are  so  remarkable 

•  MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  123 

for  your  inviolable  love  of  truth,  that  I  do  not  abate  myself  a 
single  expression  of  your  kindness  toward  me,  and  you  may 
judge,  then,  how  happy  it  makes  me. 


Paris,  Wednesday,  July  24,  1675. 

The  weather  is  so  extremely  hot,  my  dear,  that  instead  of 
tossing  and  tumbling  in  my  bed  the  whim  took  me  to  get  up 
(though  it  is  but  five  o'clock  in  the  morning)  and  chat  a  little 
with  you. 

The  king  arrived  at  Versailles  on  Sunday  morning ;  the 
queen,  Madame  de  Montespan,  and  all  the  other  ladies,  went 
to  take  possession  of  their  former  apartments.  In  a  short  time 
after  his  arrival,  his  majesty  began  to  make  the  usual  visits : 
the  only  difference  is  that  they  play  in  the  state-apartments. 
I  shall  have  more  intelligence  before  I  conclude  my  letter. 
The  reason  of  my  being  so  ill-informed  of  what  passed  at  Ver- 
sailles is,  that  I  came  but  last  night  from  M.  de  Pomponne's ; 
Madame  de  Pomponne  had  invited  D'Hacqueville  and  me  in 
so  pressing  a  manner  that  there  was  no  refusing.  Indeed,  M. 
de  Pomponne  appeared  delighted  to  see  us ;  you  were  spoken 
of  with  all  the  friendship  and  esteem  imaginable,  during  the 
short  time  we  were  there,  and  there  was  no  want  of  conversa- 
tion. One  of  our  whims  was  to  wish  we  could  see  through  a 
great  many  things  which  we  think  we  understand,  but  which, 
in  fact,  we  do  not ;  we  should  then  see  into  what  passes  in 
families,  where  we  should  find  hatred,  mistrust,  anger,  and  con- 
tempt, in  the  room  of  all  those  fine  things  that  are  set  to  out- 
ward show,  and  pass  upon  the  world  for  realities.  I  was 
wishing  for  a  closet  hung  with  mirrors  of  this  kind  instead  of 
pictures.  We  carried  this  odd  notion  very  far,  and  diverted 
ourselves  extremely  with  it.  We  were  for  opening  D'Hacque- 
ville's  head  to  furnish  ourselves  from  thence  with  some  of  these 
curious  anecdotes,  and  pleased  ourselves  with  thinking  how 

124  LETTERS     TO 

the  world  is  in  general  imposed  upon  by  what  they  see  and 
take  for  truth.  You  think  that  things  are  so  and  so  in  such  a 
house ;  that  such  a  couple  adore  each  other  ;  but  stay  a  while 
and  turn  up  the  cards,  and  you  will  see  that  they  hate  each 
other  most  completely.  You  would  imagine  that  such  an  event 
proceeded  from  such  a  cause — the  little  demon  that  drew  aside 
the  curtain  would  undeceive  you  ;  and  so  through  life.  This 
affor  led  us  infinite  amusement.  You  see,  my  dear,  I  must 
have  plenty  of  time  to  entertain  you  with  such  trifles.  This  is 
the  consequence  of  rising  so  early  in  the  morning ;  this  is 
doing  as  M.  de  Marseilles  does.  If  it  had  been  winter  I  should 
have  visited  by  torch-light. 

You  have  your  cool  north-east  wind  at  last.  Ah !  my  child, 
how  uncomfortable  it  is ;  we  are  broiling  with  heat  in  this 
country,  and  in  Provence  you  are  starving  with  cold.  I  am 
convinced  that  our  shrine  has  effected  this  change ;  for,  before 
the  procession,  we  discovered,  like  you,  that  the  sun  and  the 
seasons  had  changed  their  course.  I  thought  I  had  discovered, 
too,  like  you,  that  this  was  the  true  reason  that  had  occasioned 
the  days  we  so  much  regret  to  fly  so  rapidly.  For  my  part, 
my  dear  child,  I  experience  as  much  sorrow  to  see  these  days 
passed  and  gone  forever,  as  I  formerly  experienced  joy  in 
spending  winter  and  summer,  and  every  season,  with  you ;  this 
painful  thought  must  give  way  to  the  hope  of  seeing  you 

I  wait  for  cooler  weather  before  I  take  physic,  and  for 
cooler  councils  in  Brittany*  before  I  venture  thither.  Madame 
de  Lavardiu,  De  la  Troche,  M.  d'Haroiiis,  and  I,  shall  consult 
together  about  a  proper  time  for  our  journey,  having  no  de- 
sign to  run  ourselves  into  the  midst  of  the  commotions  that  at 
present  rend  our  poor  province.  They  seem  to  increase  daily, 
and  those  concerned  in  them  have  got  as  far  as  Fougeres, 

*  The  exorbitant  taxes  that  had  been  imposed  upon  these  unhappy 
people  had  obliged  numbers  of  them  to  have  recourse  to  arms,  in  order 
to  free  themselves  from  the  load  of  exactions  that  it  was  impossible  for 
them  to  bear. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAFT.  125 

burning  and  ransacking  all  the  way  as  they  go  along.  This 
is  rather  too  near  the  Mocks,  They  have  begun  a  second  time 
to  plunder  the  bureau*  at  Rennes :  Madame  de  Chaulnes  is 
terrified  almost  to  death  at  the  continual  menaces  she  hears. 
I  was  tr.ld  yesterday  that  some  of  the  mutineers  had  actually 
stopped  ler  in  her  coach,  and  that  even  the  most  moderate  of 
them  had  sent  notice  to  M.  de  Chaulnes,  who  is  at  Fort  Louis, 
that  if  the  troops  he  had  sent  for  took  a  single  step  toward 
entering  the  province,  his  wife  would  run  the  hazard  of  being 
torn  to  pieces  by  the  insurgents.  It  is  necessary,  however, 
that  some  troops  should  march  against  them,  for  things  are 
come  to  such  a  height  that  lenitives  are  no  longer  of  service. 
But  it  would  not  be  prudent  for  us  to  set  out  before  the  storm 
is  a  little  subsided,  and  we  see  the  issue  of  this  extreme  con- 
fusion. It  is  hoped  that  the  approaching  harvest  will  help  to 
disperse  the  rioters,  for  after  all  they  must  get  in  their  grain ; 
and  there  are  nearly  six  or  seven  thousand  of  them,  not  one  of 
whom  can  speak  a  word  of  French. 

M.  de  Boucherat  told  me  the  other  day,  that  a  curate  hav- 
ing received  a  clock  that  had  been  sent  him  from  France,  as 
they  call  this  part  of  the  country,  in  the  sight  of  some  of  his 
parishioners,  they  immediately  cried  out  in  their  language, 
that  it  was  #  new  tax,  they  were  sure  of  it,  they  saw  it  plainly. 
The  good  curate,  with  great  presence  of  mind,  and  with- 
out seeming  at  all  confused,  said  to  them,  "  My  children,  you 
are  mistaken,  you  know  not  what  you  are  talking  of;  it  is  an 
indulgence"  This  brought  them  all  immediately  upon  their 
kr.?es.  You  may,  by  this  specimen,  form  a  judgment  of  the 
understandings  of  these  people.  Let  the  consequence  be  what 
it  may,  I  must  wait  till  the  hurricane  is  past ;  but  I  am  sorry 
to  be  obliged  to  defer  my  journey.  It  was  fixed  at  the  most 
convenient  time  for  me,  and  it  can  not  be  put  off  without  inter- 
fering with  my  plans.  You  know  my  resignation  to  Provi- 
dence ;  we  must  all  return  to  this  at  last,  and  take  things  as 

*  A  kind  of  exchequer  established  in  all  the  principal  towns  in 
France  for  the  collection  of  the  king's  revenues. 

126  LETTERS     TO 

they  come.  I  talk  wisely,  as  you  see,  but  I  do  not  always 
think  wisely.  You  well  know  there  is  one  point  in  which  I 
can  not  practice  what  I  preach. 


Paris,  Friday,  August  16,  16?  5. 
I  could  wish  all  you  write  to  me  of  M.  de  Turenne  inserted 
in  a  funeral  oration.  There  is  an  uncommon  beauty  and  en- 
ergy in  your  style ;  it  has  all  the  force  of  eloquence  that  can 
be  inspired  by  grief.  Think  not,  my  child,  that  the  remem- 
brance of  him  can  be  lost  in  this  country.  The  torrent  that 
sweeps  every  thing  away  can  not  remove"  a  memory  so  well 
established ;  it  is  consecrated  to  immortality.  I  was  the  other 
day  at  M.  de  la  Rochefoucault's,  with  Madame  de  Lavardin, 
M.  de  Marsillac,  and  Madame  de  la  Fayette.  The  premier 
joined  us.  The  conversation,  which  lasted  two  hours,  turned 
wholly  on  the  divine  qualities  of  this  true  hero.  The  eyes  of 
every  one  were  bathed  in  tears,  and  you  can  not  imagine  how 
deeply  the  grief  of  his  loss  is  engraved  on  all  their  hearts.  You 
have  exceeded  us  in  nothing,  but  in  the  satisfaction  of  sighing 
aloud,  and  of  writing  his  panegyric.  We  remarked  one  thing, 
which  was,  that  it  is  not  at  his  death  only,  that  the  largeness 
of  his  heart,  the  extent  of  his  knowledge,  the  elevation  of  his 
mind  are  admired ;  all  this  the  world  acknowledged  during 
his  life.  How  much  this  admiration  is  increased  by  his  death 
you  may  easily  suppose.  In  a  word,  my  dear,  do  not  think 
that  the  death  of  this  great  man  is  regarded  here  like  that  of 
others.  You  may  talk  of  it  as  much  as  you  please  ;  but 
do  not  suppose  your  grief  can  exceed  ours.  That  none  of 
the  devotees  have  yet  taken  it  into  their  heads  to  doubt 
whether  his  soul  was  in  a  good  state,  proceeds  from  the  perfect 
esteem  every  person  felt  for  him.  It  is  not  possible  that  sin  or 
guilt  could  find  a  place  in. his  hearfr;  his  conversion,*  so  sin- 

*  He  was  originally  a  Protestant. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  127 

cere,  appeared  to  us  like  a  baptism.  Every  one  speaks  of  the 
innocence  of  his  manners,  the  purity  of  his  intentions,  his  un- 
affected humility,  the  solid  glory  that  filled  his  heart,  with- 
out haughtiness  or  ostentation,  his  love  of  virtue  for  its  own 
sake,  without  regarding  the  approbation  of  men,  and,  to  crown 
all,  his  generous  and  Christian  charity.  Did  not  I  tell  you  of 
the  regiment  he  clothed  ?  It  cost  him  fourteen  thousand 
francs,  and  left  him  almost  penniless.  The  English  told  M. 
de  Lorges,  that  they  would  continue  to  serve  this  campaign  to 
avenge  his  death ;  but  that  they  would  afterward  retire,  not 
being  able  to  serve  under  any  other  general  after  M.  de 
Turenne.  When  some  of  the  new  troops  grew  a  little  im- 
patient in  the  morasses,  where  they  were  up  to  their  knees  in 
water,  the  old  soldiers  animated  them  thus :  "  What !  do  you 
complain  ?  It  is  plain  you  do  not  yet  know  M.  de  Turenne ; 
he  is  more  grieved  than  we  are  when  we  are  in  any  difficulty. 
He  thinks  of  nothing  at  this  moment  but  of  removing  us 
hence ;  he  wakes,  while  we  sleep ;  he  is  a  father  to  us  ;  it  is 
easy  to  see  that  you  are  but  young  soldiers."  It  was  thus 
they  encouraged  them.  All  I  tell  you  is  true ;  I  do  not  load 
you  with  idle  stories  to  amuse  you  because  you  are  at  a  dis- 
tance ;  this  would  be  cheating  you,  and  you  may  rely  upon 
what  I  write  to  you  as  firmly,  as  on  what  I  should  tell  you  if 
you  were  here.  I  return  to  the  state  of  his  soul.  It  is  really 
remarkable  that  no  zealot  has  yet  thought  fit  to  doubt 
whether  it  has  pleased  God  to  receive  it  with  open  arms,  as 
one  of  the  best  and  noblest  he  ever  created.  Reflect  a  little 
upon  this  general  assurance  of  his  salvation,  and  you  will  find 
it  is  a  sort  of  miracle,  scarcely  known  but  in  his  case. 

The  king  has  said  of  a  certain  person,  whose  absence  last 
winter  delighted  you,  that  he  had  neither  head  nor  heart ; 
these  were  his  very  words.  M.  de  Rohan,  with  a  handful  of 
men,  has  dispersed  and  put  to  flight  the  mutineers,  who  were 
formed  in  troops  in  his  Duchy  of  Rohan.  Our  troops  are  at 
Nantes,  commanded  by  Fourbin  ;  for  Vins  is  still  a  subaltern. 
Fourbin's  orders  are  to  obey  M.  de  Chaulnes ;  but  as  M.  de 

128  LETTERS    TO 

Chaulnes  is  at  Fort  Louis,  Fourbin  in  effect  lias  the  command. 
You  understand  what  these  imaginary  honors  are,  which  remain 
without  action  in  those  who  have  the  name  of  commanders. 
M.  de  Lavardin  wished  much  to  have  this  command ;  he  has 
been  at  the  head  of  an  old  regiment,  and  pretends  it  was  an 
honor  due  to  him ;  but  his  claim  was  not  admitted.  It  is 
said  that  our  mutineers  have  sued  for  pardon  ;  I  suppose  they 
will  obtain  it,  after  a  sufficient  number  have  been  hanged. 
M.  de  Chamillart,  who  was  odious  to  the  province,  is  removed ; 
and  M.  de  Marsillac,  who  is  a  worthy  man,  is  made  intendant. 
These  disorders  no  longer  prevent  me  from  taking  my  jour- 
ney; but  there  is  something  here  I  am  unwilling  to  leave.  I 
have  not  yet  been  able  to  go  to  Livri,  however  my  inclination 
may  tempt  me.  Time  must  be  taken  as  it  comes ;  we  wish 
to  be  in  the  center  of  news  in  these  critical  times. 

Let  me  add  a  word  more  concerning  M.  de  Turenne.  He 
had  made  an  acquaintance  with  a  shepherd,  who  knew  the 
roads  and  the  country  well ;  ha  used  to  take  him  along  with 
him,  and  order  his  troops  to  be  posted  according  to  his  direc- 
tion. He  had  a  great  affection  for  this  shepherd,  and  esteemed 
him  as  a  man  of  good  plain  sense.  He  said  that  Colonel  Bee 
owed  his  rise  to  a  similar  quality ;  and  that  he  believed  this 
shepherd  would  make  his  fortune  as  he  had  done.  He  was 
pleased  with  having  contrived  to  make  his  troops  pass  without 
danger ;  and  said  to  M.  de  Roye,  "  In  good  earnest  this  seems 
to  me  no  ill  performance,  and  I  believe  M.  de  MontecucuH 
w7ill  not  find  it  so."  It  is  indeed  esteemed  a  masterpiece  of 
military  skill.  Madame  de  Villars  has  seen  another  account 
since  the  day  of  battle,  in  which  it  is  said  that  the  Chevalier 
de  Grignan  performed  wonders,  both  in  respect  of  valor  and 
prudence.  God  preserve  him  !  for  the  courage  of  M.  de  Tu- 
renne seems  gone  over  to  the  enemy ;  and  they  think  nothing 
impossible,  since  the  defeat  of  Marshal  de  Crequi. 

M.  de  la  Feuillade  went  post  to  Versailles  the  other  day, 
where  he  surprised  the  king,  and  said  to  him,  "  Sire,  some 
(meaning  Rochefort)  send  for  their  wives,  and  some  come  to 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  129 

see  them  :  I  am  come  only  to  see  your  majesty,  and  to  thank 
you  a  thousand  and  a  thousand  times.  I  shall  see  nobody  be- 
sides your  majesty,  for  it  is  to  you  I  owe  every  thing."  He 
talked  a  long  while  with  the  king,  and  then  taking  his  leave, 
said,  "  Sire,  I  am  going ;  I  beg  you  to  make  my  compliments 
to  the  queen  and  the  dauphin,  and  to  my  wife  and  children.'' 
And  he  mounted  his  horse ;  and  in  reality  saw  no  other  per- 
son. This  little  sally  pleased  the  king  much  ;  he  told  the 
oourt,  laughing,  how  he  had  been  made  the  bearer  of  M.  de 
Feuillade's  compliments.  It  is  a  great  thing  to  be  happy ; 
every  thing  then  succeeds  ;  nothing  is  taken  amiss. 


Paris,  Friday  Evening,  Aug.  16,  1675. 
At  length,  my  dear,  M.  de  la  Trousse  is  found.  I  admire 
his  good  fortune  in  this  affair :  after  having  performed  won- 
ders at  the  head  of  his  battalion,  he  was  surrounded  by  two 
squadrons  of  the  enemy's  horse,  so  completely,  that  no  one 
knew  how  it  would  end ;  when  on  a  sudden  he  finds  himself 

prisoner  to Whom  ?    The  Marquis  de  Grana,  with  whom 

he  was  intimate  for  six  months  at  Cologne,  and  with  whom  he 
had  cultivated  a  close  friendship.  You  may  judge  how  he 
will  be  treated  ;  he  has  a  pretty  little  wound?  which  will  fur- 
nish him  with  an  excellent  plea  for  passing  the  vintage  at  La 
Trousse ;  for  there  is  no  reason  to  doubt  that  he  will  be  re- 
leased on  his  parole ;  and,  what  is  still  better,  will  meet  with 
the  most  favorable  reception  at  court.  Nothing  can  exceed 
the  congratulations  and  compliments  that  have  been  made 
him  by  all  his  friends  on  this  occasion.  I  really  pity  him  for 
having  so  many  thanks  to  return:  if  he  were  to  have  carved 
his  own  fortune,  could  he  have  done  it  more  completely  to  his 
wish  ?  As  for  honest  Sanzei,  we  have  no  news  of  him,  which 
does  not  look  well.  Marshal  de  Crequi  is  at  Treves,  at  least 
it  is  so  reported,  and  that  his  people  saw  him  cross  the  river, 




with  three  others,  in  a  miserable  little  boat.  His  wife  is  dis« 
tracted  with  grief,  not  having  heard  a  syllable  from  himself: 
for  my  part  I  really  think  he  has  been  drowned,  or  else  killed 
by  the  peasants  on  his  way  to  Treves.  In  short,  matters  ap- 
pear to  go  badly  on  all  sides,  La  Trousse  excepted. 


Paris,  Wednesday,  Aug.  28,  1675. 
If  I  had  the  means  of  sending  letters  to  you  every  day  I 
could  easily  contrive  to  write  them.  I  sometimes  do  so  even 
now,  though  my  letters  do  not  go;  but  the  pleasure  of  writ- 
ing is  reserved  for  you  alone  :  to  every  one  else  I  write,  be- 
cause I  must.  I  have  particulars  to  relate  respecting  M.  de 
Turenne.  Madame  d'Elbeuf,*  who  is  for  a  few  days  at  the 
Cardinal  be  Bouillon's,  invited  me  to  dine  with  them  yester- 
day, and  to  share  in  their  grief.  Madame  de  la  Fayette  was 
likewise  there ;  the  purpose  of  our  meeting  was  fully  an- 
swered, for  there  was  not  a  dry  eye  among  us.  Madame  d'Elbeuf 
had  a  picture  of  the  hero,  admirably  executed.  All  his  people 
arrived  at  eleven  o'clock ;  the  poor  creatures  were  already  in 
deep  mourning,  and  bathed  in  tears ;  three  gentlemen  came  in 
who  were  ready  to  die  at  the  sight  of  the  picture  ;  their  cries 
pierced  every  heart ;  they  could  not  utter  a  word  ;  his  footmen, 
his  pages,  his  trumpeters,  were  all  in  tears,  and  made  every 
body  else  weep  to  see  them.  The  first  who  was  able  to  speak, 
answered  our  mournful  questions,  and  we  prevailed  on  him  to 
relate  the"  manner  of  his  death.  It  seems  he  was  desirous  of 
confessing,  and  when  he  retired  for  that  purpose,  he  gave  his 
orders  for  the  evening,  and  was  to  have  communicated  the 
next  day,  which  was  Sunday,  when  he  expected  to  give  battle. 
He  mounted  on  horseback  at  two  o'clock  the  Saturday,  after 
having  taken  a  little  refreshment,  and  as  he  had  many  people 
with  him,  he  left  them  all  at  about  thirty  paces  from  the  hill, 

*  Sister  to  Cardinal  de  Bouillon. 


and  said  to  young  d'Elbeuf,  "  Nephew,  stay  you  there  :  you 
move  round  me  so  much,  that  I  shall  be  known."  M.  Hamil- 
ton, who  happened  to  be  near  the  place  where  he  was  going, 
said  to  him,  "  Sir,  come  this  way  if  you  please,  the  enemy's 
fire  is  directed  to  the  place  in  which  you  are."  "  You  are 
right,  sir,"  replied  M.  de  Turenne  ;  "  I  would  not  willingly  be 
killed  to-day ;  this  will  do  extremely  well."  He  had  scarcely 
turned  his  horse,  when  he  saw  St.  Hilaire,  who,  coming  up  to 
him  with  his  hat  in  his  hand,  desired  him  to  cast  his  eye  on  a 
battery  he  had  just  raised,  pointing  to  the  place.  M.  de  Tu- 
renne turned  back,  and  at  that  very  instant,  without  having 
time  to  stop  his  horse,  he  had  his  arm  and  part  of  his  body 
torn  to  pieces  by  the  same  ball  that  carried  off  St.  Hilaire's  arm 
and  hand  in  which  he  held  his  hat.  The  gentleman,  who  was 
watching  him  attentively,  did  not  see  him  fall,  for  his  horse 
ran  away  with  him  as  far  as  the  spot  where  he  had  left  young 
d'Elbeuf ;  he  was  leaning  with  his  face  over  the  pommel  of 
the  saddle.  The  moment  his  horse  stopped,  this  great  man 
fell  off  into  the  arms  of  his  people,  who  were  gathered  round 
him,  twice  opened  wide  his  eyes,  moved  his  lips  a  little,  and 
sank  to  eternal  rest.  Think  of  his  death,  and  of  part  of  his 
heart  being  carried  away !  His  people  immediately  burst  into 
loud  cries  of  lamentations,  but  M.  Hamilton  quieted  them  as 
well  as  he  could,  and  had  young  d'Elbeuf  removed,  who  had 
thrown  himself  upon  his  uncle's  body  frantic  with  grief,  and 
would  not  be  dragged  from  it  without  violence.  A  cloak  was 
immediately  thrown  over  the  body,  and  it  was  placed  by  the 
side  of  a  hedge,  where  they  kept  watch  over  it  in  silence  till  a 
carriage  could  be  sent  for  to  carry  it  to  his  tent;  there  it  was 
met  by  M.  de  Lorges,  M.  de  Roye,  and  several  others,  who 
were  ready  to  expire  with  grief;  but  they  were  obliged  to  re- 
strain themselves,  and  think  of  the  important  business  that 
had  devolved  on  them.  A  military  service  was  performed  in 
the  camp,  where  tears  and  sorrow  were  the  mourning ;  the 
officers,  however,  had  each  a  crape  scarf,  the  drums  were  cov- 
ered with  the  same,  they  beat  only  a  single  stroke,  the  sol- 

132  LETTERS    TO 

diers  marched  with  their  pikes  trailing  and  pieces  reversed ; 
but  the  cries  and  lamentations  of  a  whole  army  can  not  be 
described  without  emotion.  His  two  nephews  assisted  at  this 
mournful  ceremony,  I  leave  you  to  judge  in  what  condition. 
M.  de  Roye,  though  much  wounded,  would  be  carried  thither. 
I  suppose  the  poor  Chevalier  de  Grignan  was  overwhelmed 
with  grief.  When  the  body  was  removed  from  the  camp,  to 
be  brought  to  Paris,  the  same  scene  of  grief  was  renewed, 
and  in  every  place  through  which  it  passed,  nothing  was  heard 
but  lamentations :  at  Langres,  however,  they  exceeded  even 
this ;  the  bier  was  met  by  more  than  two  hundred  of  the 
principal  inhabitants  in  mourning,  followed  by  the  common 
people,  and  all  the  clergy  in  sacerdotal  habits.  In  the  town  a 
solemn  service  was  performed,  and  they  all  voluntarily  en- 
tered into  a  contribution  toward  defraying  the  expenses,  which 
amounted  to  five  thousand  francs ;  for  they  conducted  the 
body  as  far  as  the  next  town.  "What  say  you  to  these  natural 
marks  of  affection,  founded  on  the  most  extraordinary  merit  ? 
He  is  to  be  brought  to  St.  Denis  this  evening ;  the  people  are 
all  gone  to  meet  the  body  at  a  place  about  two  leagues  dis- 
tant, from  whence  they  will  conduct  it  to  a  chapel,  where  it  is 
to  be  deposited  for  the  present ;  there  will  be  a  service  per- 
formed at  St.  Denis,  till  that  at  Notre  Dame  is  celebrated, 
which  will  be  a  solemn  one.  Such  was  our  entertainment  at 
the  cardinal's ;  we  dined,  as  you  may  suppose,  melancholy 
enough,  and  afterward  did  nothing  but  sigh  till  four  o'clock. 
Cardinal  de  Bouillon  mentioned  you,  and  took  upon  him  to 
answer  for  you,  that,  had  you  been  in  Paris  you  would  have 
made  one  in  our  sad  party ;  I  assured  him  that  you  took  no  small 
share  in  his  grief.  He  intends  to  answer  both  your  letter  and 
M.  de  Grignan's  ;  he  desired  me  to  say  a  thousand  kind  things 
to  you,  .and  so  did  the  worthy  d'Elbeuf,  who,  as  well  as  her 
son,  has  lost  every  thing.  It  was  a  good  idea  to  undertake 
thus  to  tell  you  what  you  know  already  as  well  as  myself;  but 
these  originals  struck  me,  and  I  was  glad  to  show  you  in  what 
way  we  forget  M.  de  Turenne  in  this  part  of  the  world. 

MADAME     DE     GRIGNAN.  133 

M.  de  la  Garde  told  me  the  other  day,  that  in  the  enthusi- 
asm of  the  wonders  which  were  related  of  the  Chevalier  de 
Grignan,  he  had  advised  his  brothers*  to  bestir  themselves  on 
the  occasion,  to  support  his  interest  at  least  for  the  present 
year  ;  and  that  he  found  them  both  very  well  disposed  to  do 
extraordinary  things.  This  good  La  Garde  is  at  Fontainebleau, 
from  whence  he  is  to  return  in  three  days,  to  set  out  at  last ; 
for  he  longs  to  be  gone,  though  courtiers  in  general  seem  to 
be  very  leaden-heeled.  The  situation  of  poor  Madame  de 
Sanzei  is  really  deplorable ;  we  know  nothing  yet  respecting 
her  husband  ;  he  is  neither  dead  nor  alive,  wounded  nor  pris- 
oner. His  people  do  not  take  the  least  notice  of  him  in  their 
letters.  M.  de  la  Trousse,  after  having  mentioned  the  report 
of  his  being  killed  (this  was  the  day  of  the  action),  has  never 
since  mentioned  a  syllable  about  him,  either  to  Madame  de 
Sanzei  or  to  Coulanges,f  so  that  we  are  quite  at  a  loss  what  to 
say  to  this  distracted  woman ;  and  yet  it  is  cruel  to  let  her  re- 
main in  this  state  of  uncertainty  ;  for  my  part,  I  am  persuaded 
her  husband  is  killed ;  the  dust  and  blood  must  probably  dis- 
figure him  so  much  as  not  to  be  known  again,  and  he  has 
been  stripped  with  the  rest  of  the  slain.  Or  he  was  perhaps 
killed  at  a  distance  from  any  of  the  rest ;  or  by  the  country- 
people  on  the  road,  and  thrown  into  a  hedge.  I  think  it  is 
more  probable  that  he  has  met  with  some  such  melancholy 
fate,  than  that  he  has  been  taken  prisoner  without  a  word  hav- 
ing been  heard  respecting  him. 

And  now,  my  dear,  I  must  tell  you  that  the  abbe  thinks 
my  journey  so  necessary,  that  I  no  longer  oppose  it ;  I  shall 
not  have  him  always  with  me,  and  therefore  I  ought  to  take 
advantage  of  his  good  intentions  toward  me.  It  will  be  only 
a  trip  of  two  months,  for  the  good  abbe  is  not  the  least  dis- 
posed to  pass  the  winter  there.  He  expresses  himself  very 
sincerely  on  the  subject,  and  you  know  I  am  always  the  dupe 

*  The  Coadjutor  of  Aries,  and  the  Abbede  Grignan. 
f  Madame  de  Sevigne  was  sister  to  M.  de  Coulanges,  and  M.  de  la 
Trousse  was  first  cousiu  to  both. 

134  LETTERS    TO 

of  every  thing  that  has  the  appearance  of  sincerity ;  so  much 
the  worse  for  those  who  deceive  me.  I  conceive  that  it  would 
be  very  dull  there  in  the  winter ;  long  evenings  may  be  com- 
pared to  long  marches  for  tediousness.  I  was  not  dull  the 
winter  you  were  with  me ;  you,  who  are  young,  might  have 
felt  so,  but  do  you  remember  our  readings  ?  It  is  true,  that 
if  every  thing  had  been  taken  away  that  surrounded  the  table, 
and  even  the  book  too,  it  is  impossible  to  tell  what  would  have 
become  of  me.  Providence  will  arrange  every  thing.  I  trea- 
sure up  all  your  sayings ;  we  get  out  of  our  dullness  as  we  do 
out  of  bad  roads ;  we  see  no  one  stop  short  in  the  middle  of  a 
month,  because  he  has  not  the  courage  to  go  through  it ;  it  is 
like  dying,  we  see  no  one  who  does  not  know  how  to  keep  out 
of  this  dilemma ;  there  are  parts  in  your  letters  which  I  nei- 
ther can  nor  will  forget.  Are  my  friends  Corbinelli  and  M.  de 
Vardes  with  you  ?  I  hope  they  are.  In  that  case,  I  dare  say, 
there  has  been  no  deficiency  of  conversation  among  you  ;  you 
have  talked  incessantly  of  the  state  of  affairs,  of  the  death  of 
M.  de  Turenne,  and  are  at  a  loss  to  guess  what  will  be  the 
consequences  of  it ;  in  fact,  you  are  just  like  ourselves,  though 
you  are  in  Provence.  M.  de  Barillon  supped  here  last  night. 
The  conversation  turned  upon  M.  de  Turenne,  and  the  univer- 
sal grief  occasioned  by  his  loss ;  he  entered  largely  into  his 
virtues,  his  love  of  truth,  his  love  of  virtue  for  its  own  sake, 
and  his  reward  in  the  practice  of  it ;  he  finished  this  eulogium 
with  adding,  that  no  one  could  love  and  esteem  M.  de  Turenne 
without  being  the  better  for  it.  His  company  and  conversa- 
tion inspired  such  hatred  of  deceit  and  double-dealing,  as  raised 
his  friends  above  the  generality  of  mankind.  In  this  number 
the  chevalier  was  particularly  distinguished  as  one  for  whom 
this  great  man  showed  more  than  common  esteem  and  affec- 
tion, and  who,  on  his  side,  was  one  of  his  greatest  admirers. 
We  shall  never  see  his  equal  in  any  age :  I  do  not  think  we 
are  quite  blind  in  the  present  day,  at  least  those  I  meet  are 
not  so,  and  this  perhaps  is  boasting  that  I  keep  good  company. 
But  I  must  tell  you  one  word  more  of  M.  de  Turenne,  which  I 
hef>rd  yesterday.     You  know  Pertuis  well,  and  his  adoration 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  135 

and  attachment  to  M.  de  Turenne ;  as  soon  as  lie  heard  of  his 
death,  he  wrote  his  majesty  the  following  note  :  "  Sire,  I  have 
lost  M.  de  Turenne ;  I  feel  my  heart  unable  to  support  this 
blow ;  and  being  incapable  of  serving  your  majesty  as  I  ought 
to  do,  I  humbly  request  your  permission  to  resign  my  govern- 
ment of  Courtrai."  Cardinal  de  Bouillon  prevented  the  letter 
from  being  given  to  the  king ;  but,  fearing  he  might  come  in 
person,  he  informed  his  majesty  of  the  effect  Pertuis'  grief 
had  on  him.  The  king  appeared  to  enter  with  great  goodness 
and  indulgence  into  his  sentiments,  and  told  Cardinal  de 
Bouillon  that  he  esteemed  Pertuis  the  more  for  this  mark  of 
attachment  to  his  friend  and  benefactor,*  and  that  he  thought 
him  too  honest  a  man  not  to  discharge  his  duty  in  whatever 
situation  he  was  in.  This  is  a  specimen  of  grief  for  this  hero. 
He  had  a  patrimony  of  40,000  livres  a  year ;  and  M.  Bouche- 
rat  says,  that  after  all  his  debts,  and  the  several  legacies  he 
has  bequeathed,  are  paid,  there  will  not  remain  more  than 
10,000.  These  are  the  vast  treasures  he  had  amassed  during 
a  service  of  fifty  years !  Adieu,  my  dearest  child,  I  embrace 
you  a  thousand  times,  and  with  inexpressible  tenderness. 


Tuesday,  September  IT,  1675. 
Here  is  an  odd  date  for  you :  >^^0irC-5Tl> 

Je  suis  dans  un  bateau,    f/^y^       OF   TFfR 


Dans  le  courant  de  l'eau,/  TVPT?  ^ITTV 

Fort  loin  de  mon  chateau\JW  * 

I  think  I  might  add,  >^N  Z'TPCi 

Ah  quelle  folielj 

for  the  water  is  so  very  low,  and  we  are  so  often  aground,  that 

*  He  had  been  captain  of  the  guard  to  M.  de  Turenne. 
f  I  am  here  in  a  boat, 

On  the  water  afloat, 

Erom  my  castle  far  remote. 

X  Ah,  what  folly  is  this ! 

136  LETTERS    TO 

I  heartily  wish  for  my  carriage  again,  but  that  is  out  of  reach 
for  some  time.  The  water  becomes  dull  when  one  is  alone.  A 
Count  des  Chapelles  and  a  Mademoiselle  de  Sevigne  are  want- 
ing to  enliven  the  scene.  In  short,  it  is  mere  folly  to  take  a 
boat  at  Orleans,  or  even  at  Paris ;  but  it  is  the  fashion,  as  it  is 
at  Chartres  to  buy  chaplets.  I  told  you  I  saw  the  Abbe 
d'Effiat  at  his  noble  mansion.  I  wrote  to  you  from  Tours ; 
from  thence  we  went  to  Saumur,  where  we  saw  Vineuil,  and 
wept  again  over  M.  de  Turenne.  He  seems  greatly  affected 
with  his  loss ;  you  will  pity  him  when  I  tell  you  he  is  in  a 
place  where  no  one  ever  saw  this  hero.  Vineuil  is  grown  very- 
old,  very  phthisicky,  very  driveling,  and  very  devout ;  but  he 
is  still  witty.  He  sends  you  a  thousand  and  a  thousand 
compliments.  It  is  thirty  leagues  from  Saumur  to  Nantes ; 
we  determined  to  go  there  in  two  days,  and  to  get  into  Nantes 
this  day.  With  this  view  we  were  upon  the  water  some 
part  of  the  night,  but  fortunately  we  ran  aground  about  two 
hundred  yards  from  the  place  where  we  were  to  go  ashore  to 
sleep,  and  could  not  get  out  of  the  boat,  so  we  put  back  and 
landed  at  another  place,  and,  following  the  barking  of  a  dog, 
we  got,  about  midnight,  to  a  little  hut,  but  the  most  wretched 
place  you  can  possibly  conceive;  there  we  found  two  or  three 
old  women  spinning,  and  some  fresh  straw,  upon  which  we  all 
lay  down  without  taking  off  our  clothes.  I  should  have 
laughed  heartily  at  this  scene,  had  it  not  been  for  thinking 
of  our  poor  abbe,  whom  I  was  vexed  to  have  exposed  to  such 
a  fatiguing  journey.  At  daybreak  we  re-embarked,  but  were 
again  so  completely  stranded,  that  it  was  above  an  hour  before 
we  could  get  afloat  again ;  however,  we  were  resolved  to  get 
to  Nantes,  though  against  both  wind  and  tide.  We  were 
forced  to  row  all  the  way.  When  we  got  there,  I  received 
your  letters,  and  as  I  find  the  post  must  pass  through  Ingrande, 
I  shall  leave  this  little  note  by  the  way.  I  am  very  well,  and 
only  want  somebody  to  chat  with.  I  shall  write  to  you  from 
Nantes,  as  you  may  suppose.  I  am  very  impatient  to  hear 
from  you,  and  about  M.  de  Luxembourg  and  his  army,  for  my 

MADAME    DK     GRIGNAN.  137 

head  has  been  in  a  sack  these  nine  days.  The  History  of  the 
Crusades  is  very  amusing,  particularly  to  those  who  have  read 
Tasso,  and  who  see  their  old  friends  again  in  prose  and  in  his- 
tory, but  with  respect  to  the  author's  style,  I  am  his  very 
humble  servant.     The  Life  of  Origen  is  divine.* 


1  The  Eocks,  Sunday,  Oct.  20,  16*75. 

I  can  not  sufficiently  admire  the  diligence  and  fidelity  of  the 
post.  I  received  on  the  18th  your  letter  of  the  9th,  that  is, 
in  nine  days  only  after  date,  which  is  all  that  can  be  desired. 
But,  my  dear,  we  must  soon  put  an  end  to  our  admirations ; 
for,  as  you  say,  you  are  going  still  further  ofi^  that  we  may 
both  be  exactly  in  the  spot  which  Providence  has  assigned  us. 
For  my  part,  God  knows,  I  acquit  myself  very  ill  in  my  resi 
dence ;  but  you,  heavens  !  M.  d' Angers  (H.  Arnauld)  can  not 
do  more.  When  I  think,  however,  of  our  separation,  and  how 
much  I  deserve  to  enjoy  the  pleasure  of  being  with  you,  and 
of  all  your  affection  for  me,  and  then  reflect  that  we  are  placed 
at  two  different  ends  of  the  #globe,  you  must  excuse  me  if  I 
can  not  view  this  part  of  our  history  with  gayety  of  heart. 
Common  sense  opposes  it,  and  my  infinite  love  still  more.  I 
have  nothing  to  do  but  take  refuge  in  submission  to  the  will 
of  Providence.  I  am  very  glad  you  have  seen  M.  de  la  Garde ; 
he  does  me  great  honor  in  approving  my  turn  of  mind  :  he  is 
a  very  good  judge.  I  am  sorry  you  are  going  to  lose  him  so 
soon,  for  he  is  really  a  worthy  man.  Your  conversations  must 
have  been  endless.  So  he  is  to  take  the  archbishop  away  to 
La  Garde.  It  was  very  well  said  of  him,  that  he  was  like  a 
river  which  fertilized  and  made  every  country  flourish  through 
which  it  passed.     I  find  he  did  wonders  at  Grignan. 

M.  de  Chaulnes  is  at  Rennes  with  four  thousand  men  ;   he 

*  This  is  the  work  of  Dufosse,  of  Port  Royal.     It  had  just  been  pub- 
lished, with  the  Life  of  Tertullian,  by  the  same  author. 

138  LETTERS    TO 

has  removed  the  parliament  to  Vannes,  which  has  occasioned 
a  terrible  desolation.  The  ruin  of  Rennes  brings  with  it  that 
of  the  whole  province.  Madame  de  Marbeuf  is  at  Vitre  ;  she 
has  brought  me  a  thousand  compliments  from  Madame  de 
Chaulnes,  and  from  M.  de  Vins,  who  intends  paying  me  a  visit. 
I  am  not  under  the  least  apprehension  about  these  troops  on 
my  own  account,  but  I  can  not  help  feeling  for  the  despair  and 
desolation  our  poor  province  suffers  at  present.  It  is  supposed 
we  shall  not  have  any  assembly  of  the  states  here,  or  if  we 
have,  it  will  be  only  to  buy  off  the  taxes  which  we  gave  two 
million  five  hundred  thousand  livres  to  have  taken  off  only  two 
years  ago,  and  which  have  been  all  laid  upon  our  shoulders 
again ;  and,  perhaps,  they  may  set  a  price  too  upon  bringing 
the  parliament  back  to  Rennes.  M.  de  Montmoron*  is  fled 
out  of  the  town,  to  a  seat  belonging  to  one  of  his  friends,  at 
about  three  leagues  distance  from  hence,  that  he  may  avoid 
hearing  the  cries  and  lamentations  of  the  people  at  seeing  their 
dear  parliament  removed.  You  see  I  am  quite  a  Breton,  but, 
you  know,  it  is  owing  to  the  air  I  breathe,  and  to  something 
else,  for  every  creature,  without  distinction,  is  in  affliction 
throughout  the  province.  Be  under  no  concern  about  my 
health,  my  dearest  child ;  I  am  extremely  well.  Madame  de 
Tarente  has  given  me  an  essence  that  has  cured  her  of  vapors 
that  were  worse  than  mine :  two  drops  are  to  be  taken  for  fif- 
teen days  following,  in  any  beverage  that  is  drunk  at  table, 
and  it  cures  effectually.  She  has  told  me  circumstances  of  its 
efficacy,  which  have  all  the  air  of  those  in  the  comedy  of  the 
Medecin  Force ;  but  I  believe  them  all,  and  I  would  take  some 
of  the  essence  now  if  it  were  not  that  I  think  it  a  pity  to  make 
use  of  so  admirable  a  remedy  when  I  have  no  real  occasion  for 
it.  I  will  send  you,  some  time  or  other,  the  remainder  of  the 
prosperities  of  the  boat.  You  will  make  La  Plessis  too  vain, 
for  I  shall  tell  her  how  much  you  love  her.  Except  what  I 
told  you  the  other  day,  I  do  not  think  a  better  creature 
exists.     She  is  here  every  day.     I  have  some  of  your  excellent 

*  He  was  a  Sevigne,  and  dean  of  the  parliament  of  Brittany. 

MADAME     DE     GRIGNAN.  139 

Hungary  water  in  my  pocket ;  I  am  quite  in  love  with  it ;  it 
cures  all  my  sorrows ;  I  wish  I  could  send  some  of  it  to  Rennes. 

My  woods  continue  very  beautiful  still,  and  the  verdure  is  a 
hundred  times  finer  than  at  Livri ;  I  do  not  know  whether 
this  proceeds  from  the  nature  of  the  trees  themselves,  or  from 
the  refreshing  rains  we  have  here ;  but  there  is  certainly  no 
comparison ;  every  thing  here  looks  as  green  now  as  in  the 
month  of  May.  The  leaves  that  fall  are  brown,  it  is  true,  but 
those  that  remain  on  the  trees  are  not  at  all  faded ;  you  never 
observed  this  beauty  in  them.  As  to  that  blessed  tree  that 
saved  your  life,  I  am  often  tempted  to  build  a  little  chapel 
there.  It  seems  to  carry  its  head  above  all  the  rest,  and  ex- 
ceeds them  in  bulk  as  well  as  stature,  and  with  very  good 
reason,  for  it  saved  you.  I  may,  at  least,  repeat  to  it  the 
stanza  of  Medor,  in  Ariosto,  in  which  he  wishes  happiness  and 
peace  to  the  cave  that  had  given  him  so  much  pleasure.  Our 
sentences  are  not  at  all  disfigured ;  I  visit  them  frequently, 
I  think  they  are  rather  increased,  and  two  trees  that  are  close 
to  each  other,  often  present  us  with  two  contrary  sentiments, 
"La  lontananza  ogni  grand  piaga  salda" *  and  " Piaga 
d'amor  non  si  sana  mais"\  There  are  five  or  six  thus  contra- 
dictory. The  good  princess  was  charmed  with  them,  as  I  am 
with  the  letter  you  have  written  our  good  abbe,  on  Jacob's 
journey  to  the  land  of  promise,  in  your  closet. 

Madame  de  Lavardin  has  informed  me  of  what  is  still  to  be 
kept  secret  for  a  few  days  longer,  that  D'Olonne  is  going  to 
marry  his  brother  to  Mademoiselle  de  Noirmoutier.  He  gives 
him  all  his  lands  in  Poitou,  besides  a  great  quantity  of  jewels 
and  furniture.  They  are  at  La  Ferte-Milon,  where  this  curious 
affair  is  to  be  made  up.  I  never  thought  D'Olonne  would 
have  given  himself  any  -concern  about  his  name  or  family. 

*  Time  is  a  cure  for  wounds  however  deep. 
f  The  wounds  of  love  are  never  to  be  healed. 

\140,  LETTERS    TO 


The  Rocks,  "Wednesday,  November  6,  16*15. 

What  a  delightful  letter  have  you  written  to  me,  my  dear 
child !  What  thanks  do  I  not  owe  you  for  employing  your 
hand,  your  eyes,  your  head,  your  time,  in  composing  so  agree- 
able a  volume !  I  have  read  it  over  and  over,  and  shall  read 
it  again  with  pleasure  and  attention.  I  can  read  nothing  that 
is  more  interesting ;  you  satisfy  my  curiosity  in  every  thing  I 
wish.  I  admire  your  care  in  giving  me  such  punctual  an- 
swers. This  makes  a  conversation  perfect,  regular,  and  ex- 
tremely entertaining.  But  I  must  beg  you  not  to  destroy 
yourself;  this  fear  makes  me  renounce  the  pleasure  of  having 
frequently  such  entertainments.  You  can  not  doubt  my 
generosity  in  sparing  you  the  fatigue  of  immoderate  writing. 

I  comprehend  with  pleasure  the  high  esteem  that  is  paid  to 
M.  de  Grignan  in  Provence,  after  what  I  have  seen  of  it. 
This  is  a  pleasure  you  are  scarcely  sensible  of;  you  are  too 
much  accustomed  to  be  loved  and  honored  in  a  province 
where  you  command.  If  you  saw  the  horror,  the  detestation, 
the  hatred,  that  the  people  have  here  for  their  governor,  you 
would  feel  more  than  you  do  the  pleasure  of  being  adored 
every  where.  What  affronts !  what  injuries  !  what  menaces  ! 
what  reproaches !  the  very  stones  fly  round  him.  I  do  not 
believe  M.  de  Grignan  would  accept  this  post  upon  such  con- 

You  mention  to  me  the  paper  you  have  signed  so  heroically 
in  favor  of  M.  de  Grignan.*  You  say  you  had  no  doubt 
which  way  the  honorable  sentiments  of  Cardinal  de  Retzf  in- 
clined. I  do  not  say  any  thing  of  mine ;  it  was  enough  that 
you  could  discern  what  his  counsels  tended  to.  In  certain 
delicate  affairs,  we  do  not  presume  directly  to  advise,  but  we 
represent  the  case ;  the  common  friends  of  both  do  what  is 

*  It  appears  that  Madame  de  Grignan  had  entered  into  a  bond  fof 
her  husband.  f  Cardinal  de  Retz  advised  her  not  to  sign. 

MADAME     DE     GBIGNAN.  141 

proper,  that  there  may  be  n©  jarring  opposition  in  the  interest 
of  those  they  love.  But  with  a  soul  so  perfectly  generous  and 
go  3d  as  yours,  we  consult  only  ourselves,  and  act  precisely  as 
you  have  done.  Have  you  not  seen  how  much  you  have 
been  admired  ?  Are  you  not  pleased  that  you  owe  to  none 
but  yourself  so  noble  a  resolution  1  You  would  have  done 
nothing  blamable,  if  you  had  refused  to  sign — you  would 
only  have  acted  like  the  rest  of  the  world  ;  but  by  consenting 
to  it,  you  have  exceeded  all  the  world.  In  a  word,  my  child, 
enjoy  the  beauty  of  your  own  action,  and  do  not  think  meanly 
of  us  for  not  having  prompted  you  to  it.  On  a  similar  occa- 
sion, we  should  perhaps  have  acted  as  you  have  done,  and  you 
would  have  advised  as  we  did ;  it  is  all  well.  I  am  very 
much  pleased  that  M.  de  Grignan  is  so  good  as  to  recompense 
this  mark  of  your  friendship  and  affection  by  a  greater  atten- 
tion to  his  affairs.  The  prudence  you  commend  him  for,  is 
the  truest  mark  of  his  gratitude  you  could  have  wished. 


The  Rocks,  Sunday,  December  1,  16T5. 
Well,  my  dear,  it  seems  now  settled  that  I  am  to  receive 
two  of  your  packets  together,  and  miss  one  post ;  you  should 
see  the  faces  I  make,  and  how  I  receive  it  in  comparison  with 
those  that  come  regularly.  I  am  of  your  opinion,  my  child, 
and  would  give  a  great  deal  to  be  as  easy  about  answering 
letters  as  the  coadjutor  is,  and  keep  them  in  my  pocket  for 
a  month  or  two  without  troubling  my  head  about  them. 
Well,  it  is  a  gift  from  heaven  certainly,  this  happy  indiffer- 
ence !  Madame  de  Langeron  used  to  say  of  visits,  and  I  apply 
it  to  every  thing  :  "  What  I  do  fatigues  me,  and  what  I  omit 
to  do  vexes  me."  I  think  this  is  very  well  said,  and  I  feel  it 
sensibly.  I  am  always  exact,  however,  in  my  answers.  It  is 
with  pleasure  I  give  you  the  top  of  the  basket ;  that  is,  you 
have  the  very  flower  of  my  mind,  my  head,  my  eyes,  my  pen, 

142  LETTERS    TO 

my  desk — the  rest  fare  as  they  can.  I  have  as  much  amuse- 
ment in  chatting  to  you,  as  labor  and  fatigue  in  writing  to 
others.  I  am  perfectly  stunned  with  the  great  news  that 
abounds  in  Europe. 

I  suppose  the  coadjutor  has  shown  Madame  de  Fontevraud 
the  letter  he  received  from  you.  You  are  ignorant  of  its 
value.  You  write  like  an  angel ;  I  read  your  letters  with  ad- 
miration. You  no  sooner  set  out  than  you  reach  the  goal. 
Do  you  remember  the  minuet  which  you  danced  so  well,  and 
closed  in  such  excellent  time,  when  the  other  creatures  were 
not  at  the  end  of  theirs  till  the  next  day  ?  The  late  madame 
and  yourself  were  famous  for  this  ;  we  used  to  call  it  gaining 
ground.     Your  letters  are  just  the  same. 

As  for  your  poor  little  frater,  I  know  not  where  he  has  hid 
himself ;  it  is  three  weeks  now  since  I  had  a  line  from  him. 
He  made  no  mention  of  the  pretty  airing  upon  the  Meuse, 
though  every  body  believes  it  here  ;  his  fortune  is  really  verj 
hard,  poor  lad.  I  do  not  see  how  he  can  manage  the  affair  of 
his  promotion,  unless  Lauzun  will  take  the  guidonage  in  part 
of  payment,  with  some  other  little  additions  we  will  endeavor 
to  raise ;  but  to  buy  the  ensign's  place,  and  have  the  guidon- 
age  left  upon  our  hands,  will  never  do.  Your  reasoning  upon 
the  matter  is  very  just ;  we  all  acquiesce  in  it,  and  shall  be 
veiy  well  contented  to  mount  after  the  other  two,*  provided 
the  guidon  serves  as  the  first  step. 

I  shall  finish  the  year  here  very  peaceably.  There  are 
times  when  all  places  are  indifferent,  and  a  solitude  like  this 
not  unpleasant.  Madame  de  la  Fayette  returns  you  all  your 
civilities ;  she  has  very  bad  health,  and  poor  M.  de  Limoges 
still  worse ;  he  has  resigned  all  his  benefices  to  the  king ;  I 
fancy  his  son,  the  Abbe  de  la  Fayette,  will  have  one  of  his 
abbeys.  Poor  Gascony  has  been  as  roughly  handled  as  we 
have  been.     We  have  six  thousand  troops  sent  down  to  pass 

*  The  Marquis  de  la  Trousse,  and  the  Marquis  de  la  Fare ;  the  one 
captain-lieutenant,  and  the  other  sub-lieutenant,  in  the  dauphin's  gens- 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  143 

the  winter  among:  us :  if  it  were  not  for  the  misconduct  of 
the  provinces,  I  do  not  know  how  they  would  be  able  to  dis- 
pose of  their  troops.  I  can  not  think  peace  is  so  near :  do 
you  remember  all  our  reasoning  upon  the  subject  of  war, 
and  how  many  there  must  be  killed  ?  This  is  always  a  certain 
prophecy,  and  so  is  that,  that  your  letters  can  never  tire  me, 
long  as  they  may  be  :  ah !  you  will  find  no  chimera  in  this 
hope,  they  are  my  choicest  reading.  Ripert  brings  you  a 
third  volume  of  the  Moral  Essays,  which  are  worth  your  pe- 
rusal. I  never  met  with  greater  energy  than  there  is  in  the 
style  of  these  writers :  they  make  use  of  no  words  but  what 
are  in  common  use,  and  yet  they  appear  perfectly  new,  by  the 
elegant  manner  in  which  they  dispose  them.  In  the  morning 
I  read  the  history  of  France ;  in  the  afternoon,  some  serious 
subjects  in  my  woods ;  such  as  the  Essays,  the  Life  of  Saint 
Thomas  of  Canterbury,  which  I  think  delightful,  or  the  Icono- 
clastes ;  and  in  the  evening,  things  of  a  lighter  nature  :  this  is 
my  constant  rule.  I  hope  you  continue  to  read  Josephus ; 
take  courage,  my  dear,  and  go  on  boldly  to  the  end.  If  you 
read  the  history  of  the  Crusades,  you  will  meet  with  two 
illustrious  men  who  were  your  ancestors,  but  not  a  word  about 
the  great  family  of  V***,  that  holds  its  head  so  high  at  pres- 
ent :  but  I  am  persuaded  there  are  some  passages  which  will 
make  you  throw  aside  the  book,  and  curse  the  Jesuit ;  *  and 
yet  upon  the  whole  it  is  an  admirable  history. 


The  Rocks,  "Wednesday,  Dec.  11,  1675. 
A  little  patience,  my  dear  child,  brings  us  to  the  accomplish- 
ment of  our  wishes :  I  have  received  the  two  packets  of  let- 
ters from  you  that  I  should  have  received  before  ;  but  they  are 

*  Father  Maimbourg,  author  of  the  History  of  the  Crusades.  The 
physician,  in  the  Lettres  Persanes,  gives  as  a  recipe  for  the  asthma,  to 
read  all  the  works  of  this  father,  stopping  only  at  each  period. 

144  LETTERS     TO 

come  at  last,  and  you  will  do  me  no  more  than  justice  to  be- 
lieve that  I  am  highly  delighted  to  have  them.  I  thank  you 
that  notwithstanding  all  your  philosophy,  you  enter  into  all  my 
melancholy  reflections  on  the  immense  distance  that  separates 
us ;  you  sympathize  with  me ;  you  seem  afflicted  as  well  as 
myself  with  this  disposition  of  Providence  ;  but  you  encoun- 
ter it  with  more  courage  than  I  do,  who  always  feel  from  it 
some  new  increase  of  sorrow.  I  am  continually  meditating 
on  the  past,  for  which  the  present  and  the  future  can  never 
make  me  amends.  It  is  an  ample  field  in  which  to  exercise  a 
heart  so  tender  and  ill-defended  as  mine.  I  can  not  but  ad- 
mire those  good  ladies  who  make  a  duty  of  their  inclination  ; 
there  is  La  Troche  for  instance,  who  has  so  well  turned  and 
wound  her  good  fortune,  that  she  is  at  length  settled  at  her 
ease  in  the  good  city  of  Paris,  making  it  the  seat  of  her  em- 
pire and  the  field  of  all  her  operations.  She  has  fixed  her  son 
at  court,  in  spite  of  wind  and  tide,  and  makes  it  her  business  to 
be  always  near  him.  As  for  Marbeuf,  she  had  begun,  even  in 
her  husband's  time,  and  now  lays  no  restraint  upon  herself ; 
she  has  taken  a  lease  of  a  house  in  Paris  for  a  hundred  years, 
and  most  humbly  takes  her  leave  of  poor  Brittany :  while  you, 
my  dear  child,  who  were  born  and  bred  in  this  country,  you 
whom  I  have  always  so  fondly  loved,  and  so  ardently  wished 
to  have  forever  with  me,  are  driven  to  the  furthest  end  of  the 
world  by  the  storms  of  adverse  fortune;  but,  if  I  mean  to 
put  an  end  to  my  letter,  I  must  pass  lightly  over  these  reflec- 
tions, and  resume  my  courage  in  the  flattering  hope  of  a 
change  :  d'Hacqueville  and  I  indulge  some  pleasing  dreams  of 
that  kind ;  but  this  is  not  a  time  to  communicate  them  to  you. 
Let  us  return  to  the  miseries  of  this  poor  province. 

Every  place  is  full  of  warriors ;  there  are  to  be  some  at 
Vitre,  notwithstanding  the  princess  is  there.  Monsieur,  when 
he  writes  to  her,  styles  her  his  good  aunt ;  his  dear  aunt ;  but 
I  do  not  find  that  she  is  better  treated  than  others.  There  are 
to  be  troops  at  Guerche,  the  estate  of  the  Marquis  de  Villeroi ; 
and  from  thence  they  are  to  spread  themselves  among  the 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  145 

country  people,  to  rob  and  strip  them.  This  is  a  heavy  dis- 
aster upon  poor  Brittany,  that  never  experienced  any  thing  of 
the  kind  before.  Our  governor  has  received  a  power  to  grant 
a  general  amnesty,  which  he  disperses  with  one  hand,  and 
with  the  other  lets  loose  eight  thousand  soldiers,  over  whom 
he  has  as  much  command  as  you  have  :  they  have  all  their 
orders.  M.  de  Pommereuil  is  expected  here  every  day; "he 
has  the  inspection  of  this  little  army,  and  may  very  soon  boast 
a  fine  government.  He  is  the  best  and  wisest  of  the  robe ; 
he  is  my  friend  ;  but  I  doubt  whether  he  will  be  as  tractable 
as  your  intendant,  whom  you  manage  so  excellently ;  I  am 
afraid  he  will  be  changed.  I  can  give  you  no  information  to- 
day respecting  Languedoc ;  in  the  mean  time  content  your- 
self with  some  from  Guienne  ;  I  find  they  are  well  protected, 
and  have  procured  a  considerable  mitigation  of  their  burden. 
Alas  !  we  are  not  so  happy ;  our  protections,  if  we  had  any, 
would  do  us  more  harm  than  good,  by  the  animosity  against 
us  of  two  individuals.  I  believe  we  may  still  find,  or  at  least 
promise  to  find,  the  three  millions  demanded  of  us,  without 
ruining  our  friend  ;  *  for  he  is  so  beloved  by  the  states,  that 
they  would  do  any  thing  rather  than  he  should  suffer.  And 
this,*I  think,  is  enough  upon  the  subject. 

I  am  rejoiced  that  you  are  not  returned  to  Grignan ;  it 
would  have  been  only  an  additional  fatigue  and  expense  to 
you.  Prudence  and  economy,  for  which  the  good  abbe  de- 
sires me  to  thank  you,  have  rendered  that  step  unnecessary. 
Let  me  know  if  the  dear  little  ones  are  to  come  to  you.  We 
have  most  delightful  weather  here,  and  we  are  making  some 
new  walks,  which  will  be  very  beautiful.  My  son  is  very 
good,  and  helps  to  amuse  us  ;  he  enters  into  the  spirit  of  the 
place,  and  has  brought  no  more  of  the  warrior  or  of  the  cour- 
tier with  him  into  this  retreat,  than  is  sufficient  to  enliven 
conversation.  When  it  does  not  rain  we  are  not  so  much  to 
be  pitied  as  at  a  distance  it  may  be  supposed  ■  the  time  we 
have  fixed  to  spend  here  will  pass  like  the  rest. 

*  M.  de  Harrouis. 


146  LETTERS    TO 

My  letter  has  not  been  given  to  Louvois ;  the  whole  affair 
is  negotiating  between  Lauzun  and  myself ;  if  he  will  take  the 
guidonage,  we  have  offered  to  make  a  small  addition  to  it ;  if 
he  resolves  to  sell  his  post  outright,  which  would  be  very  un- 
reasonable, he  must  look  for  a  purchaser  on  his  side,  as  we 
shall  on  ours  ;  that  is  all.  I  have  written  to  the  chevalier  to 
condole  with  him  on  our  not  having  met  at  Paris ;  we  should 
have  made  curious  lamentations  together  on  our  last  year's 
party,  and  should  have  renewed  our  tears  for  the  loss  of  M.  de 
Turenne.  I  know  not  what  idea  you  have  of  our  princess ;  I 
assure  you  she  is  no  Artemisia  ;*  her  heart  is  like  wax,  it  easily 
takes  impression ;  she  makes  a  boast  of  it,  and  says  pleasantly 
enough  that  she  has  a  ridiculous  heart ;  this  is  spoken  in  gene- 
ral terms,  but  the  world  is  rather  more  particular  in  its  appli- 
cations. I  am  in  hopes  I  shall  be  able  to  keep  this  folly  with- 
in bounds,  by  the  frequent  speeches  I  make  (as  if  I  intended 
nothing  by  them)  on  the  detestable  light  in  which  those  wo- 
men are  held,  who  give  too  great  a  rein  to  their  passions,  and 
how  much  they  subject  themselves  thereby  to  contempt.  I 
talk  miraculously  sometimes ;  I  am  heard  and  approved  as 
much  as  can  be  expected.  Indeed,  I  consider  it  quite  a  duty 
to  talk  thus  ;  and  should  think  it  an  honor  to  be  instrumental 
in  working  a  reformation. 

I  am  tired  to  death  with  the  barrenness  of  news  ;  we  stand 
in  great  need  of  some  event,  as  you  say,  let  it  be  at  whose  ex- 
pense it  will ;  as  long  as  we  have  no  more  Turennes  to  lose, 
vogue  la  galere.  You  tell  me  extraordinary  things ;  I  read 
them,  admire  them,  believe  them,  and  then  you  send  me  word 
they  are  not  true ;  I  well  know  the  style  and  braggart  of  the 
provinces.  You  judge  superficially  of  our  governor,  when 
you  say  you  should  have  acted  as  he  did,  had  you  been  in  his 
place ;  I  know  you  would  not ;  neither  did  the  king's  service 
require  it.     Ah  !  what  is  become  of  the  excellent  understand- 

*  The  affectionate  and  chaste  wife  of  Mausolus,  king  of  Caria,  whoso 
ashes  she  drank  after  his  death. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  14*7 

ing  you  had  last  winter  ?  This  is  no  time  to  think  of  deputa- 
tions ;  let  us  see  peace  restored,  and  then  we  shall  have  time 
to  think  of  every  thing. 

As  to  the  religion  of  the  Jews,  I  said,  when  reading  their 
history,  that  "  if  God  had  given  me  grace  to  have  been  born  a 
Jew,"*  I  should  have  liked  it  better  than  any  other  except  the 
true  religion.  I  admire  its  magnificence ;  but  you  must  ad- 
mire it  still  more,  on  account  of  its  year  of  rest,  and  of  dress- 
ing-gowns, which  would  have  given  you  an  opportunity  of 
being  a  shining  example  of  piety  in  your  elbow-chair ;  never 
would  sabbath  have  been  better  kept.  Hi  pert  has  received 
the  Moral  Essays ;  they  contain  several  treatises,  and  among 
the  rest  one  that  is  particularly  pleasing ;  you  will  guess  which 
I  mean.  I  am  delighted  with  your  good  health  and  beauty, 
for  I  love  you  truly.  I  often  wish  for  you  in  these  woods,  the 
air  of  which,  as  well  as  that  of  Livri,  is  a  great  preservative  to 
the  complexion.  Our  good  abbe  praises  you  highly  for  your 
care  in  discharging  your  debts ;  for  that,  in  his  estimation,  is 
the  law  and  the  prophets  ;  and  as  M.  de  Grignan  is  so  prudent, 
I  will  embrace  him  notwithstanding  his  beard ;  but  do  you 
know  that  your  little  brother's  beard  has  the  presumption  to 
rival  it  ?  it  is  to  much  purpose !  Send  me  word  of  your  suc- 
cess at  play.  It  seems  to  me  as  if  I  saw  your  little  fingers 
taking  out  of  the  pool ;  but  these  times  are  past ;  good  and 
evil  travel  on  the  same  road,  but  they  leave  different  impres- 
sions. You  have  given  a  great  dinner ;  where  was  I  ?  for  I 
know  all ;  I  see  all  the  magnificence  from  hence.  You  express 
yourself  admirably  on  the  marriage  of  the  little  prince  (De 
Marsan)  and  the  marechale ;  the  disproportion  is  doubtless 
great,  but  suppose  he  should  have  escaped  it !  Believe  me, 
you  have  no  need  of  my  letters,  you  can  write  delightfully 
without  a  theme.     But  I  must  reduce  myself  at  last  to  Solon's 

*  In  allusion  to  an  expression  of  M.  de  Rochefoucault,  who  said, 
"  If  God  had  given  me  grace  to  have  been  born  a  Turk,  I  should  have 
died  a  Turk." 

48  LETTERS    TO 

rule,  "Nothing  is  to  be  praised  on  this  side  the  grave;" which 
is  a  heavy  restriction  for  me,  who  dearly  love  to  praise  what  is 
praise-worthy ;  besides,  who  can  stay  so  long  ?  For  my  part, 
I  shall  always  go  on  in  my  old  way :  adieu,  my  ever-lovely 
and  beloved  child. 


The  Rocks,  Sunday  January  12,  16V  6. 

You  may  fill  your  letters  with  whatever  you  please,  and  still 
be  assured  that  I  read  them  with  great  pleasure  and  equal  ap- 
probation ;  no  one  can  write  better  than  you  do,  and  it  is  not 
my  friendship  only  that  leads  me  to  form  this  opinion. 

You  delight  me  by  saying  you  like  the  Moral  Essays ;  did  I 
not  tell  you  they  would  suit  your  taste  ?  As  soon  as  I  began 
to  read  them,  I  could  think  of  nothing  but  of  sending  them  to 
you ;  you  know  I  am  communicative,  and  do  not  like  to  en- 
joy a  pleasure  alone.  If  this  book  had  been  written '  on  pur- 
pose for  you,  it  could  not  have  been  more  calculated  to  please 
you.  What  language !  what  energy  in  the  arrangement  of 
the  words !  I  think  I  never  read  French  but  in  this  book. 
The  resemblance  of  charity  to  self-love,  and  of  the  heroic 
modesty  of  M.  de  Turenne  and  the  prince  to  Christian 
humility— but  I  forbear.  This  work  deserves  to  be  praised 
from  beginning  to  end,  but  I  should  write  a  strange  letter  if  I 
were  to  do  so.  I  am  very  glad,  however,  you  like  it,  and  I 
'  have  a  better  opinion  of  my  own  judgment  in  consequence. 
You  do  not  admire  the  life  of  Josephus  ;  but  it  is  sufficient  if 
you  approve  his  actions  and  his  history.  Did  you  not  think 
him  very  happy  in  the  cave,  where  they  drew  lots  who  should 
stab  himself  the  last  ? 

We  laughed  till  we  cried  at  the  story  of  the  girl  who  sung 
the  indecent  song,  for  which  she  confessed  aloud  in  the 
church.  Nothing  can  be  more  novel  and  amusing.  I  think 
she  was  in  the  right ;  the  confessor  certainly  wished  to  hear 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  140 

the  song,  for  he  was  not  satisfied  with  the  girl's  accusation  of 
herself.  I  fancy  I  see  him  bursting  with  laughter  the  first  at 
this  adventure.  We  often  send  you  ridiculous  stories,  but  we 
can  not  surpass  this.  I  always  talk  of  Brittany,  and  it  is  to 
encourage  you  to  talk  of  Provence ;  it  is  a  country  in  which  I 
am  more  interested  than  in  any  other.  My  journey  thither 
takes  away  all  possibility  of  being  tired  with  what  you  tell 
me,  because  I  am  acquainted  with  every  body,  and  understand 
every  thing  perfectly.  I  have  not  forgotten  the  beauty  of 
your  winters.  Our  season  is  very  fine  here ;  I  walk  every  day, 
and  have  almost  made  a  new  park  round  the  waste  land  at 
the  end  of  the  mall.  I  am  planting  four  rows  of  trees  there  ; 
it  will  be  a  great  improvement,  for  all  this  part  is  now  uniform 
and  cultivated. 

But  I  shall  take  my  departure,  in  spite  of  all  these  charms, 
in  February.  The  abbe's  affairs  are  still  more  urgent  than 
yours,  which  has  prevented  me  from  offering  our  house  to 
Mademoiselle  de  Meri ;  she  has  complained  of  this  to  several 
persons,  I  understand,  but  I  know  not  what  reason  she  has  to 
do  so.  The  worthy  is  in  raptures  with  your  letters ;  I  often 
show  him  passages  that  I  know  will  please  him.  He  thanks 
you  for  what  you  say  of  the  Moral  Essays ;  he  was  delighted 
with  them  himself.  The  little  girl  is  still  with  us ;  she  has  an 
active  little  mind  which  has  never  been  exercised,  and  we  take 
pleasure  in  improving  it.  She  is  in  perfect  ignorance ;  it  is  an 
amusement  to  us  to  give  her  some  general  knowledge  :  a  few 
words  of  this  great  universe,  of  empires,  countries,  kings,  re- 
ligions, and  wars,  of  astronomy  and  geography.  It  is  pleasant 
to  see  the  unfolding  of  all  these  things  in  a  little  head  which 
has  never  beheld  a  town  or  a  river,  and  who  thought  the 
whole  world  extended  no  further  than  our  park ;  she  amuses 
us  highly.  I  informed  her  to-day  of  the  capture  of  Wismar ; 
she  knows  we  are  sorry  for  it,  because  the  king  of  Sweden 
is  our  ally.  Such  are  our  amusements.  The  princess  is 
delighted  that  her  daughter  has  taken  Wismar;  she  is  a 
true   Dane.      Sbe  has  asked  monsieur  and  madame  to  ex- 

150  LETTERS    TO 

empt  her  entirely  from  the  soldiery,  so  that  we  shall  all  be 

Madame  de  la  Fayette  is  very  grateful  for  your  letter ;  she 
thinks  you  very  polite  and  obliging.  But  does  it  not  appear 
strange  to  you  that  her  brother-in-law  is  not  dead,  and  that 
such  mistakes  should  arise  at  the  short  distance  of  Toulon  and 
Aix  ?  Upon  the  questions  you  put  to  the  f rater  I  decide 
boldly,  that  he  who  is  angry,  and  shows  his  anger,  is  prefer- 
able to  the  deceiver,  who  conceals  his  malignity  under  fair  and 
specious  appearances.  There  is  a  stanza  in  Ariosto  descriptive 
of  guile.*  I  would  transcribe  it,  but  I  have  not  time  to 
(ook  for  it.  The  good  D'Hacqueville  stills  talks  to  me  of  the 
journey  of  St.  Geran,  and  to  prove  how  short  her  stay  will  be, 
he  says  she  can  only  receive  one  of  my  letters  at  Palisse. 
This  is  how  he  treats  an  acquaintance  of  a  week ;  he  is  just 
the  same  with  respect  to  others,  but  this  is  excellent.  I  forgot 
to  say  that  I  had  thought  like  you  of  the  different  ways  of 

*  "We  shall  probably  gratify  the  reader  by  inserting  this  stanza: 

Havea  piaceval  viso,  abito  onesto, 
Un  umil  valger  d'occhi,  un  andar  grave, 
Un  parlar  si  benigao,  e  si  modesto 
Che  parea  Gabriel,  che  dicesse :  Ave, 
Era  brutta  e  deforme  in  tutto  il  resto 
Ma  nasconde  queste  fattezze  prave 
Con  lungo  abito,  e  largo,  e  sotto  quello 
Attosicato  avea  sempre  il  coltello. 

Orlando  Furioso.     Canto  xiv. 

Her  garb  was  decent,  lovely  was  her  face, 
Her  eyes  were  bashful,  sober  was  her  pace ; 
"With  speech  whose  charms  might  every  heart  assail, 
Like  his  who  gave  the  blest  salute  of — Hail ! 
But  all  deformed  and  brutal  was  the  rest, 
Which  close  she  covered  with  her  ample  vest, 
Beneath  whose  folds,  prepared  for  bloody  strife, 
Her  hand  for  ever  grasped  a  poisoned  knife. 

Hoole's  Translation.    Book  xiv 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  151 

painting  the  human  heart,  some  white  and  others  blacker  than 
black.     You  know  what  color  mine  is  of  for  you. 



The  Rocks,  Monday,  Feb.  3,  1676. 
Guess,  my  dear  child,  what  it  is  that  comes  the  quickest, 
and  goes  off  the  slowest ;  that  brings  you  nearest  to  health, 
and  removes  you  the  furthest  from  it ;  that  throws  you  into 
the  most  agreeable  situation  imaginable,  and,  at  the  same  time, 
hinders  you  from  enjoying  it ;  that  flatters  you  with  the  most 
pleasing  hopes,  and  keeps  you  the  longest  from  the  accomplish- 
ment of  them.  Can  not  you  guess  ?  Do  you  give  it  up  ? 
Why,  it  is  the  rheumatism.  I  have  had  it  these  three  and 
twenty  days ;  since  the  fourteenth  day  I  have  been  free  from 
fever  and  pain,  and  in  this  delightful  situation,  thinking  my- 
self strong  enough  to  walk,  which  is  the  summit  of  my  wishes, 
I  find  myself  swelled  all  over — feet,  legs,  hands,  arms ;  and  this 
swelling,  which  they  call  my  cure,  and  in  reality  is  so,  is  the 
sole  occasion  of  my  present  vexation ;  were  I  good  for  any 
thing,  I  might  gain  myself  some  credit  by  it.  However,  I  be- 
lieve the  enemy  is  conquered,  and  that  in  two  days  I  shall  be 
able  to  walk.  Larmechin  gives  me  great  hope  of  this.  I  every 
day  receive  letters  from  our  friends  at  Paris,  congratulating 
me  on  my  recovery.  I  have  taken  M.  de  Lorme's  opening 
powders,  which  have  been  of  great  service  to  me ;  I  am  going 
to  take  them  again ;  they  are  a  never-failing  remedy  in  these 
cases.  After  this  attack  I  am  promised  an  eternal  succession 
of  health.  God  grant  it.  My  first  step  will  be  to  return  to 
Paris.  I  desire  you,  therefore,  my  dear,  to  calm  all  your 
fears ;  you  see  what  a  faithful  account  we  have  given  you  of 
the  affair ;  let  that  make  you  easy. 

152  LETTERS    TO 


Paris,  Wednesday,  April  15,  1676. 

I  am  very  melancholy,  my  dear ;  my  poor  boy  is  just  gone ; 
he  has  so  many  little  social  virtues  that  are  the  charm  of  so- 
ciety, that  were  he  only  an  acquaintance  I  should  regret  his 
loss.  He  desired  me,  over  and  over  again,  to  tell  you  that  he 
forgot  to  take  notice  to  you  of  the  story  of  your  Proteus,  who 
was  at  one  time  a  capuchin,  at  another  time  a  galley-slave  ;  he 
was  highly  amused  at  it.  It  is  supposed  we  are  going  to  un- 
dertake the  siege  of  Cambray ;  this  is  so  extraordinary  a  step, 
that  every  one  thinks  we  have  had  intelligence  with  some  one 
in  the  place.  If  we  lose  Philipsburg,  it  will  be  very  difficult 
to  repair  the  breach :  vederemo,  we  shall  see.  But  still  we 
reason  and  make  almanacs,  all  of  which  end  with,  the  king's 
star  will  prevail. 

At  length  Marshal  Bellefond  has  cut  the  thread  that  tied 
him  here.  Sanguin  has  purchased  his  place*  for  55,000  livres, 
and  a  brevet  de  retenue  of  350,000.  This  is  a  fine  settlement, 
and  an  assurance  of  a  cordon  bleu.f  M.  de  Pomponne  has 
paid  me  a  very  cordial  visit ;  all  your  friends  have  exerted 
themselves  wonderfully.  I  do  not  go  out  yet.  The  cold  winds 
retard  the  cure  of  my  hands,  and  yet  I  write  better  than  I  did, 
as  you  may  see.  I  turn  myself  at  night  on  my  left  side  ;  I 
eat  with  my  left  hand  :  these  are  left  hand  performances.  My 
face  is  very  little  altered  ;  you  would  soon  discover  that  you 
have  seen  it  somewhere  before ;  it  is  because  I  have  not  been 
bled,  and  have  endeavored  to  get  cured  of  my  illness  without 
such  remedies.  I  thank  you  for  mentioning  the  pigeons  to 
me.  Where  has  the  little  one  acquired  this  timidity  ?  I  am 
afraid  you  will  throw  the  blame  upon  me :   you  cast  a  sus- 

*  Of  premier  maitre-d'hotel,  or  lord  chamberlain,  to  the  king. 

f  M.  de  Sanguin  was  not  created  a  knight  of  the  king's  order  at  the 
promotion  in  1688,  but  the  Marquis  de  Livri  his  son,  who  was  premier 
maitre-d'hotel,  was  comprehended  in  that  of  1724. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  153 

picious  eye  toward  me.  This  humor  will,  I  dare  say,  pass  off, 
and  you  will  not  be  obliged  to  make  a  monk  of  him.  I  am 
resolved  to  go  to  Vichi ;  they  have  set  me  against  Bourbon  on 
account  of  the  air.  The  Marechale  d'Etrees  wishes  me  to  go 
to  Vichi ;  she  says  it  is  a  delightful  country.  I  have  told  you 
what  I  think  of  that  affair ;  either  resolve  to  return  hither 
with  me,  or  do  not  come  at  all ;  for  a  fortnight  will  only  dis- 
turb me  with  constant  thoughts  of  a  separation,  and  will  be 
on  the  whole  a  foolish  and  useless  expense.  You  know  how 
dear  the  sight  of  you  is  to  me,  so  take  your  own  measures. 

I  wish  you  had  finished  the  bargain  about  your  estate  :  M. 
de  Pomponne  tells  me  it  is  raised  to  a  marquisate.  I  desired 
him  to  make  it  a  dukedom  :  he  assured  me  it  would  give  him 
great  pleasure  to  do  so,  and  that  he  would  use  all  expedition 
in  drawing  up  the  patents.  This  is  a  considerable  step.  I  am 
delighted  to  hear  the  pigeons  are  so  well.  How  does  the  little 
tiny,  or  rather  the  great  fat  one  do  ?  I  love  him  dearly,  for 
resolving  to  live  against  wind  and  tide.  But  I  can  not  forget 
my  little  girl  ;*  I  suppose  you  will  determine  on  putting  her 
to  Saint  Marie,  according  to  the  resolutions  you  adopt  this 
summer  ;  all  depends  upon  that.  You  seem  satisfied  with  the 
devotions  of  Passion  and  Easter  weeks  :  you  shut  yourself  up 
at  Grignan.  For  my  part,  my  thoughts  were  not  affected  with 
any  thing.  I  had  no  object  to  strike  the  senses.  I  ate  meat  till 
Good  Friday,  and  had  only  the  comfort  of  being  very  distant 
from  any  opportunity  of  committing  sin.  I  told  La  Mousse 
you  remembered  him,  and  he  advises  you  to  make  the  most 
of  your  man  of  wit.     Adieu,  my  dear  child. 


Paris,  Wednesday,  April  29,  1676. 
I  must  begin  by  telling  you  that  Conde  was  token  by  storm 
on  Saturday  night.     The  news  at  first  made  my  heart  beat ; 

*  Marie-Blanche  d'Athemar,  born  the  15th  November,  1610. 


154  LETTERS     TO 

I  feared  the  victory  had  cost  us  dear,  but  it  does  not  prove  so ; 
we  have  lost  some  men,  but  none  of  any  note ;  this  may  be 
reckoned  a  complete  happiness.  Larei,  the  son  of  M.  Laine, 
who  was  killed  in  Candia,  or  his  brother,  is  dangerously 
wounded.     You  see  how  soon  our  old  heroes  are  forgotten. 

Madame  de  Brinvilliers  is  not  so  comfortable  as  I  am  ;  she 
is  in  prison,  and  endeavors  to  pass  her  time  there  as  pleasantly 
as  she  can ;  she  desired  yesterday  to  play  at  piquet,  because 
she  was  dull.  Her  confession  has  been  found ;  it  informs  us 
that  at  the  age  of  seven  years  she  ceased  to  be  a  virgin ;  that 
she  had  ever  since  gone  on  at  the  same  rate ;  that  she  had 
poisoned  "her  father,  her  brothers,  one  of  her  children,  and 
herself;  but  the  last  was  only  to  make  trial  of  a  counter-poi- 
son. Medea  was  a  saint  compared  with  her.  She  has  owned 
this  confession  to  be  her  own  writing ;  it  was  an  unaccounta- 
ble folly ;  but  she  says  she  was  in  a  high  fever  when  she  wrote 
it,  and  that  it  was  an  act  of  madness  or  frenzy,  which  does 
not  deserve  a  serious  thought. 

The  queen  has  been  twice  at  the  Carmelites  with  Madame 
de  Montespan.  The  latter  set  on  foot  a  lottery  ;  she  collected 
every  thing  that  could  be  useful  to  the  nuns  ;  this  was  a  great 
novelty  and  amusement  in  the  convent.  She  conversed  a  long 
time  with  sister  Louise*  de  la  Misericorde,  and  asked  her 
whether  it  was  really  true  that  she  was  as  happy  there  as  it 
had  been  generally  reported.  She  replied,  "  I  am  not  happy, 
but  I  am  contented."  Quanto  talked  to  her  a  great  deal  of 
the  brother  of  monsieur  ;  and  asked  her  if  she  had  no  message 
to  send  him,  and  what  she  should  say  to  him  for  her.  She 
replied  in  the  sweetest  tone  and  manner  possible,  though  per- 
haps a  little  piqued  at  the  question ;  "  Whatever  you  please, 
madam,  whatever  you  please."  Fancy  this  to  be  expressed 
with  all  the  grace,  spirit,  and  modesty,  which  you  so  well  un- 
derstand. Quanto  afterward  wished  for  something  to  eat,  and 
sent  to  purchase  some  ingredient  that  was  necessary  for  a  sauce 
she  prepared  herself,  and  which  she  ate  with  a  wonderful  ap- 

*  Madame  de  la  Valliere. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  155 

petite.  I  tell  you  the  simple  fact  without  the  least  embellish- 
ment. When  I  think  of  the  letter  you  wrote  me  last  year 
about  M.  de  Vivonne,  I  consider  all  I  send  you  as  a  burlesque. 
To  what  lengths  will  not  folly  lead  a  man  wh< 
deserving  of  such  exaggerated  praise ! 


Paris,  Friday,  July" 
At  length  it  is  all  over  :  La  Brinvilliers  is  in  the  air  ;  after 
her  execution  her  poor  little  body  was  thrown  into  a  large  fire, 
and  her  ashes  dispersed  by  the  wind,  so  that  whenever  we 
breathe,  we  shall  inhale  some  particles  of  her,  and  by  the  com- 
munication of  the  minute  spirits,  we  may  be  all  infected  with 
the  desire  of  poisoning,  to  our  no  small  surprise.  She  was 
condemned  yesterday ;  and  this  morning  her  sentence  was 
read  to  her,  which  was  to  perform  the  amende  honorable  in  the 
church  of  Notre-Dame ;  and,  after  that,  to  have  her  head  cut 
off,  her  body  burned,  and  her  ashes  thrown  into  the  air.  They 
were  for  giving  her  the  question,  but  she  told  them  there  was 
no  occasion  for  that,  and  that  she  would  confess  every  thing ; 
accordingly,  she  was  till  five  o'clock  in  the  evening  relating 
the  history  of  her  life,  which  has  been  more  shocking  than 
was  even  imagined.  She  gave  poison  to  her  father  ten  times 
successively,  but  without  effect,  and  also  to  her  brother,  and 
several  others,  at  the  same  time  preserving  the  appearance  of 
the  greatest  love  and  confidence.  She  has  said  nothing  against 
Penautier.  Notwithstanding  this  confession,  they  gave  her 
the  question,  ordinary  and  extraordinary,  the  next  morning ; 
but  this  extorted  nothing  more  from  her.  She  desired  to 
speak  with  the  procurator-general :  no  one  yet  knows  the  sub- 
ject of  their  conversation.  At  six  o'clock  she  was  carried  in  a 
cart,  with  no  other  covering  than  her  shift,  and  with  a  cord 
round  her  neck,  to  the  church  of  Notre-Dame,  to  perform  the 
amende  honorable ;   after  which,  she  was  put  again  into  the 

166  LETTERS    TO 

same  cart,  where  I  saw  her  extended  on  a  truss  of  straw,  with 
a  confessor  on  one  side,  and  the  hangman  on  the  other ;  in- 
deed, my  child,  the  sight  made  me  shudder.  Those  who  saw 
the  execution  say  she  mounted  the  scaffold  with  great  courage. 
I  was  on  the  bridge  of  Notre-Dame,  with  the  good  d'Escars ; 
never  was  Paris  in  such  commotion,  nor  its  attention  so  fixed 
upon  one  event.  Yet,  ask  many  people  what  they  saw,  and 
they  will  tell  you  they  saw  no  more  than  I  did,  who  was  not 
present ;  in  short,  the  whole  day  has  been  dedicated  to  this 




Livri,  Wednesday,  Nov.  4,  1676. 
Nothing  can  be  more  true  than  the  proverb  which  says, 
that  liberty  is  destroyed  by  uncertainty.  Were  you  under 
any  sort  of  restraint,  you  would  have  determined  what  to  do 
long  ago,  and  not  have  been  like  Mohammed's  coffin,  suspended 
between  heaven  and  earth ;  one  of  the  loadstones  would  cer- 
tainly, by  this  time,  have  got  the  better  of  the  other.  You 
would  no  longer  be  dragooned,  which  is  a  very  unpleasant 
state.  The  voice  you  heard,  in  passing  the  Durance,  exclaim, 
Ah,  mother  t  mother !  would  pierce  to  Grignan :  or  at  least, 
that  which  counseled  you  to  leave  it,  would  not  haunt  you  at 
Briare ;  for  which  reason,  I  maintain  that  nothing  can  be  more 
opposite  in  its  nature  to  liberty  than  indifference  and  indeci- 
sion. Can  it  be  possible  that  the  sage  La  Garde,  who  has,  it 
seems,  resumed  all  his  wonted  wisdom,  has  likewise  lost  his 
free  will  ?  is  he  incapable  of  advising  you  ?  can  he  be  at  a 
loss  to  decide  in  this  important  point  ?  you  have  seen  that  I 
decide  like  one  of  the  councils.  But  how  is  it  that  La  Garde, 
who  is  coming  to  Paris  himself,  can  not  contrive  that  his  jour- 
ney may  take  place  at  the  same  time  with  yours  ?  If  you  do 
come,  it  would  be  no  bad  thought  to  take  the  way  of  Sully ; 
the  little  duchess  would  certainly  convey  you  as  far  as  Ne- 
mours ;  at  least,  you  would  find  some  friend  or  other,  from 

MADAME     DE     GRIGNAN.  157 

day  to  day,  so  that  you  would  have  a  relay  of  friends,  till  you 
found  yourself  in  your  own  apartment.  You  would  have  met 
with  a  better  reception  last  time,  but  your  letter  came  so  late 
that  you  took  every  body  by  surprise,  and  had  nearly  missed 
me,  which  would  have  been  a  fine  circumstance  indeed ;  but 
we  will  contrive  to  keep  clear  of  this  inconvenience  in  future. 
I  can  not  help  praising  the  chevalier,*  who  arrived  in  Paris  on 
Friday  evening,  and  dined  here  on  Saturday ;  was  is  not  very 
good  of  him  ?  I  was  delighted  to  see  him,  and  I  assure  you 
we  spoke  with  great  freedom  of  your  scruples.  I  am  now 
going  to  take  a  trip  to  Paris.  I  must  see  M.  de  Louvois  on 
y  mr  brother's  account,  who  is  still  here  without  leave,  which 
\  exes  me  not  a  little.  I  want  to  talk  to  M.  Colbert  likewise, 
about  your  pension :  these  two  visits  are  all  I  have  to  make.  I 
have  some  thoughts  of  going  to  Versailles,  but  will  acquaint 
you  whether  I  do  so  or  not.  In  the  mean  time,  we  have  the 
finest  weather  imaginable  ;  the  country  has  yet  put  on  none 
of  its  horrors,  and  St.  Hubert  has  favored  the  hunter  ex- 

We  are  still  reading  Saint  Augustine  with  pleasure :  there 
is  something  so  great  and  noble  in  his*  ideas,  that  all  the  mis- 
chief that  weak  minds  can  possibly  receive  from  his  doctrine, 
falls  infinitely  short  of  the  good  which  others  may  derive  from 
the  perusal.  You  will  imagine  I  give  myself  airs  of  a  learned 
lady  ;  but  when  you  see  in  what  a  familiar  style  this  is  writ- 
ten, you  will  cease  to  wonder  at  my  capacity.  You  tell  me 
that  if  you  did  not  love  me  a  great  deal  more  than  you  say, 
you  should  love  me  very  little :  I  am  strangely  tempted  to 
scold  you  for  this,  even  though  I  should  risk  the  saying  an 
unkind  or  an  uncivil  thing :  but  no ;  I  am  fully  persuaded 
you  love  me ;  and  God  knows  much  better  than  it  is  possible 
for  you  to  do,  what  a  strong  affection  I  entertain  for  you.  I 
am  glad  to  hear  Pauline  is  like  me,  she  will  serve  to  put  you 
in  mind  of  me.     "  Ah  !  mother,  there  is  no  need  of  that.17 

*  De  Grignan. 

158  LETTERS    TO 


Livri,  Friday,  Nov.  6,  1676. 

Surely  there  never  was  so  brilliant  a  letter  as  your  last ;  I 
had  some  thoughts  of  sending  it  back,  that  you  might  have 
the  pleasure  of  perusing  it.  I  could  not  help  wondering  while 
I  read  it,  how  it  was  possible  to  wish  so  ardently  to  receive  no 
more.  This,  however,  is  the  affront  I  put  on  your  letters :  you 
seem  to  treat  mine  much  more  civilly. 

This  Reimond  is  certainly  hem  !  hem  !  with  the  head-dress 
you  know  so  well ;  she  has  dressed  in  this  style,  as  you  prop- 
erly observe,  that  she  might  seem  qualified  to  hear  the  music 
of  the  blessed  above ;  and  our  sisters  have  done  the  same 
from  the  wish  of  obtaining  a  fund  of  seven  thousand  livres, 
with  a  pension  of  a  thousand,  by  which  she  is  enabled*  "  to 
go  abroad  when  she  likes,  and  she  likes  it  very  often."  We 
have  never  had  such  merchandize  before  ;  but  the  beauty  of 
our  house  causes  us  to  overlook  every  thing  ;  for  my  own  part, 
I  am  quite  delighted  with  it :  for  in  my  opinion  both  her 
apartments  and  her  voice  are  divine,  hem,  hem. 

The  dates  you  mention  in  speaking  of  Madame  de  Soubise, 
are,  thank,  God,  among  those  which  have  escaped  my  mem- 
ory. Some  marked  incivility  must  certainly  have  been 
shown  during  the  festivities  at  Versailles.  Madame  de  Cou- 
langes  informs  me  that  the  tooth  has  disappeared  since  the 
day  before  yesterday  ;  in  that  case,  you  will  conclude  they  can 
have  no  tooth  against  her.  You  are  very  amusing  upon  my 
friend's  f  illness,  and  at  the  same  time  it  is  all  true.  The 
quartan  ague  of  our  friend  of  the  suburbs,^  is  happily  at  an 
end.  I  have  sent  your  letter  to  the  chevalier,  §  without  ap- 
prehension or  reproof.  I  love  him  sincerely ;  and  as  for  my 
pigeon,  I  wish  I  could  give  him  a  kiss  ;  I  have  some  idea  in 

*  Madame  de  Sevigne  recants  a  little.     See  the  Letter  of  the  21st 
October.  •)•  Madame  de  Coulanges. 

\  Madame  de  la  Fayette.  §  De  Grignan. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  159 

inj  head,  I  know  not  how  truly,  that  leads  me  to  think  I  shall 
one  day  or  other  see  all  these  little  folks.  I  can  not  under- 
stand the  eight  months'  child ;  pray  is  she  likely  to  live  a 
century  ?  I  fancy  the  gentlemen  that  fought  it  out  so  bravely 
in  the  streets,  are  in  a  fair  way  to  live  as  long.  It  would 
really  be  a  very  pretty  and  just  punishment  for  a  battle  in  the 
midst  of  summer.     Adieu,  my  dear  lovely  child,  I  shall  finish 

this  in  the  good  city  of  Paris. 

Friday,  at  Paris. 

So !  here  I  am.  I  have  been  dining  at  the  worthy  Bag- 
nol's,  where  I  found  Madame  de  Coulanges  in  this  charming 
apartment,  embellished  with  the  golden  rays  of  the  sun, 
where  I  have  often  seen  you,  almost  as  beautiful  and  as  bril- 
liant as  he.  The  poor  convalescent  gave  me  a  hearty  wel- 
come, and  is  now  going  to  write  two  lines  to  you  ;  it  is,  for 
aught  I  know,  something  from  the  other  world,  which  I  am 
sure  you  will  be  very  glad  to  hear.  She  has  been  giving  me 
an  account  of  a  new  dress  called  transparencies.  Pray,  have 
you  heard  of  it  ?  It  is  an  entire  suit  of  the  finest  gold  and 
azure  brocade  that  can  be  seen,  over  which  is  a  black  robe, 
either  of  beautiful  English  lace,  or  velvet  chenille  like  the 
winter  laces  you  have  seen ;  this  occasions  the  name  of  trans- 
parency, which  is,  you  see,  a  black  suit,  and  a  suit  of  gold 
and  azure,  or  any  other  color,  according  to  the  fancy  of  the 
wearer,  as  is  all  the  fashion  at  present.  This  was  the  dress 
worn  at  the  ball  on  St.  Hubert's  day,  which  lasted  a  whole 
half-hour,  for  nobody  would  dance.  The  king  pushed  Ma- 
dame d'Heudicourt  into  the  middle  of  the  room  by  main  force ; 
she  obeyed,  but  at  length  the  combat  ended  for  want  of  com- 
batants. The  fine  embroidered  boddices  destined  for  Villers- 
Coterets  serve  to  walk  out  on  an  evening,  and  were  worn  on 
St.  Hubert's  day.  The  prince  informed  the  ladies  at  Chan- 
tilly,  that  their  transparencies  would  be  a  thousand  times  more 
beautiful  if  they  would  wear  them  next  their  skin,  which  I 
very  much  doubt.  The  Granceis  and  Monacos  did  not  share 
in  the  amusements,  because  the  mother  of  the  latter  is  ill,  and 

160  LETTERS    TO 

the  mother  of  the  angels  has  been  at  death's  door.  It  is  said, 
the  Marchioness  de  la  Ferte  has  been  in  labor  there,  ever 
since  Sunday,  and  that  Bouchet  is  at  his  wit's  end. 

M.  de  Langlee  has  made  Madame  de  Montespan  a  present 
of  a  robe  of  gold  cloth,  on  a  gold  ground,  with  a  double  gold 
border  embroidered  and  worked  with  gold,  so  that  it  makes 
the  finest  gold  stuff  ever  imagined  by  the  wit  of  man.  It  was 
contrived  by  fairies  in  secret,  for  no  living  wight  could  have 
conceived  any  thing  so  beautiful.  The  manner  of  presenting 
it  was  equally  mysterious.  Madame  de  Montespan's  mantua- 
maker  carried  home  the  suit  she  had  bespoke,  having  made  it 
to  fit  ill  on  purpose ;  you  need  not  be  told  what  exclamations 
and  scoldings  there  were  upon  the  occasion.  "  Madam,"  said 
the  mantua-maker,  trembling  with  fear,  "  as  there  is  so  little 
time  to  alter  it  in,  will  you  have  the  goodness  to  try  whether 
this  other  dress  may  not  fit  you  better  ?"  It  was  produced. 
"  Ah !"  cried  the  lady,  "  how  beautiful !  What  an  elegant 
stuff  is  this  ?  Pray,  where  did  you  get  ?  It  must  have  fallen 
from  the  clouds,  for  a  mortal  could  never  have  executed  any 
thing  like  it."  The  dress  was  tried  on ;  it  fitted  to  a  hair. 
In  came  the  king.  "  It  was  made  for  you,  madam,"  said  the 
mantua-maker.  Immediately  it  was  concluded  that  it  must 
be  a  present  from  some  one ;  but  from  whom  ?  was  the  ques- 
tion. "  It  is  Langlee,"  said  the  king.  "  It  must  be  Langlee," 
said  Madame  de  Montespan;  "nobody  but  Langlee  could 
have  thought  of  so  magnificent  a  present — it  is  Langlee,  it  is 
Langlee !"  Every  body  exclaims,  "  It  is  Langlee,  it  is  Lang- 
lee !"  The  echoes  repeat  the  sound.  And  I,  my  child,  to  be 
in  the  fashion,  say,  "  It  is  Langlee." 


Paris,  Wednesday,  June  30,  16f7. 
At  length  you  inform  me  that  you  are  arrived  at  Grignan. 
The  pains  you  have  taken  to  keep  our  correspondence  uninter- 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  161 

rupted,  is  a  continual  mark  of  your  affection.  I  can  assure 
you  that  you  are  not  mistaken  in  the  opinion  that  I  stand  in 
need  of  this  support ;  indeed  no  one  can  be  more  in  want  of 
it.  It  is  true,  however,  and  I  too  often  think  so,  that  your 
presence  would  have  been  of  much  greater  service  to  me ;  but 
your  situation  was  so  extraordinary,  that  the  same  considera-? 
tions  that  determined  you  to  go,  made  me  consent  to  your  de- 
parture, without  doing  any  thing  more  than  stifle  my  senti- 
ments. It  was  considered  a  crime  in  me  to  discover  any  un- 
easiness with  regard  to  your  health.  I  saw  you  perishing 
before  my  eyes,  and  was  not  permitted  to  shed  a  tear.  It  was 
killing  you,  it  was  assassinating  you ;  I  was  compelled  to  sup- 
press my  grief.  I  never  knew  a  more  cruel  or  more  unprece- 
dented species  of  torture.  If,  instead  of  that  restraint,  which 
only  increased  my  affliction,  you  had  owned  that  you  were  ill ; 
and  if  your  love  for  me  had  been  productive  of  complaisance, 
and  made  you  evince  a  real  desire  to  follow  the  advice  of 
physicians,  to  take  nourishment,  to  observe  a  regimen,  and  to 
own  that  repose  and  the  air  of  Livri  would  have  done  you 
good,  this  would  indeed  have  comforted  me,  but  your  oppo- 
sition to  our  sentiments  aggravated  my  grief  and  anxiety.  In 
the  end,  my  child,  we  were  so  circumstanced,  that  we  could 
not  possibly  avoid  acting  as  we  did.  God  explained  to  us 
his  will  by  that  conduct;  but  we  should  endeavor  to  see 
whether  he  will  not  permit  us  mutually  to  reform,  and 
whether,  instead  of  that  despair  to  which  you  condemned  me 
from  a  motive  of  affection,  it  would  not  be  more  natural 
and  more  beneficial  to  give  our  hearts  the  liberty  they  re- 
quire, and  without  which  it  is  impossible  for  us  to  lead  a  life 
of  tranquillity.  Thus  I  have  declared  my  mind  to  you  freely 
once  for  all.  I  shall  mention  the  subject  no  more,  but  let  us 
each  reflect  upon  the  past,  that,  whenever  it  pleases  God  to 
bring  us  together  again,  we  may  carefully  avoid  falling  into 
the  same  errors.  The  relief  which  you  have  found  in  the  fa- 
tigues of  so  long  a  journey,  sufficiently  proves  the  necessity 
you  are  under  of  laying  aside  restraint.     Extraordinary  reme- 

162  LETTERS    TO 

dies  are  necessary  for  persons  of  an  extraordinary  character ; 
physicians  would  never  have  dreamed  of  such  a  one  as  that  1 
have  just  mentioned.  God  grant  it  may  continue  to  produce 
the  same  good  effect,  and  that  the  air  of  Grignan  may  not 
prove  injurious  to  you !  I  could  not  avoid  writing  to  you  in 
this  manner,  in  order  to  relieve  my  heart,  and  intimate  to  you 
that  we  must  endeavor,  when  next  we  meet,  not  to  give  any 
one  an  opportunity  of  paying  us  the  wretched  compliment  of 
saying  very  civilly,  that  to  keep  quite  well,  we  should  never 
.  see  one  another  again.  I  am  astonished  at  the  patience  that 
can  bear  so  cruel  a  thought. 

You  brought  the  tears  into  my  eyes  in  speaking  of  your 
little  boy.  Alas,  poor  child ;  who  can  bear  to  see  him  in 
such  a  situation  !  I  do  not  retract  what  I  always  thought  of 
him ;  but  am  of  opinion  that,  even  from  affection,  we  ought 
to  wish  him  already  in  a  happier  world.  Paulina  appears  to 
me  worthy  of  being  made  your  play-thing ;  her  resemblance 
even  will  not  displease  you,  at  least,  I  hope  it  will  not.  That 
little  quadrangular  nose  is  a  feature  you  can  not  possibly  dis- 
like to  find  at  Grignan.*  It  seems  to  me  somewhat  odd  that 
the  noses  of  the  Grignan  family  should  admit  no  shape  but 
this,  and  should  be  altogether  averse  to  a  nose  like  yours, 
which  might  have  been  sooner  formed ;  but  they  dreaded  ex- 
tremes, though  they  did  not  care  about  a  trifling  modification. 
The  little  marquis  is  a  very  pretty  fellow  ;  you  should  not  be 
at  all  uneasy  at  his  not  being  altered  for  the  better.  Talk  to 
me  a  great  deal  about  the  persons  you  associate  with,  and  the 
amusements  they  afford  you. 


Livri,  Saturday,  July  3,  1677. 

Alas,  how  grieved  I  am  at  the  death  of  your  poor  child  !f 

it  is  impossible  not  be  affected  at  it.     Not  1hat  I  was  ever  of 

*  This  alludes  to  Madame  de  Sevigne's  nose,  which  inclined  to  the 
square.  f  The  child  that  was  born  in  February  1676. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  163 

opinion  he  could  live ;  the  description  you  gave  convinced  me 
tli at  his  case  was  desperate.  But,  it  is  a  great  loss  to  you, 
who  had  lost  two  boys  before  :  God  preserve  to  you  the  only 
one  that  remains  !  He  discovers  an  admirable  disposition  ;  I 
am  much  better  pleased  with  sound  sense  and  just  reasoning, 
at  his  age,  than  with  the  vivacity  of  those  who  turn  out  fools 
at  twenty.  Be  satisfied  with  him,  therefore  ;  lead  him  like  a 
horse  that  has  a  tender  mouth,  and  remember  what  I  told  you 
respecting  his  bashfulness;  this  advice  comes  from  persons 
much  wiser  than  myself;  and  I  am  sure  it  is  good.  With  re- 
gard to  Paulina,  I  have  one  word  to  say  to  you ;  from  your 
description  of  her  she  may,  perhaps,  in  time,  become  as  hand- 
some as  yourself;  when  a  child,  you  were  exactly  like  her. 
God  grant  she  may  not  resemble  me  in  having  a  heart  so  sus- 
ceptible of  tenderness  !  I  see  plainly  that  you  love  her,  that 
she  is  amiable,  and  that  she  amuses  you.  I  wish  I  could  em- 
brace her,  and  recognize  that  face  again  which  I  have  seen 


Livri,  Friday,  July  16,  1677. 
I  wish,  my  dear  child,  that  you  had  a  tutor  for  your  son ; 
it  is  a  pity  his  mind  should  be  left  uncultivated.  I  doubt 
whether  he  is  yet  of  an  age  to  eat  all  sorts  of  food  promiscu- 
ously ;  we  should  examine  whether  children  are  strong  and 
robust,  before  we  give  them  strong  meats ;  otherwise  we  run 
the  hazard  of  injuring  their  stomachs,  which  is  of  great  conse- 
quence. My  son  stays  behind  to  take  leave  of  his  friends ;  he 
will  then  come  to  me  here  ;  he  must  afterward  join  the  army, 
and  after  that  he  may  go  and  drink  the  waters.  An  officer, 
named  M.  D****,  has  lately  been  cashiered  for  absenting  him- 
self ;  I  know  the  answer  you  will  make,  but  this  instance  suf- 
ficiently shows  the  severity  of  military  discipline.  Adieu,  my 
dear  child ;  be  comforted  for  the  loss  of  your  son  ;  nobody  is 

164  LETTERS    TO 

to  blame  concerning  him.  His  death  was  occasioned  by 
teething,  and  not  by  a  defluxion  upon  the  lungs ;  when  chil- 
dren have  not  strength  sufficient  to  force  out  the  teeth  at  a 
proper  time,  they  are  never  able  to  bear  the  necessary  motion 
to  make  them  all  come  at  once ;  I  talk  learnedly.  You  know 
the  answer  of  Sully's  green  bed  to  M.  de  Coulanges,  made  by 
Guillerague  ;  it  is  droll  enough  ;  Madame  de  Thianges  repeated 
it  to  the  king,  who  sings  it ;  it  was  said  at  first,  that  he  had 
ruined  himself  by  it ;  but  it  is  not  true,  it  will  perhaps  make 
his  fortune.  If  ^  this  discourse  does  not  come  from  a  green 
mind,  it  comes  from  a  green  head,  which  is  the  same,  and  the 
color  of  the  thing  can  not  be  disputed. 


Livri,  "Wednesday  Evening,  July  24,  1677. 

Love  Paulina,  love  Paulina,  my  child !  indulge  yourself  in 
that  amusement ;  do  not  destroy  your  peace  of  mind  by  de- 
priving yourself  of  her;  what  are  you  afraid  of?  You  may 
still  send  her  to  a  convent  for  a  few  years,  when  you  think  it 
necessary.  Enjoy  maternal  affection  for  a  while ;  it  is  exquisite 
when  it  springs  from  the  heart,  and  the  choice  falls  upon  an 
amiable  object.  Dear  Paulina !  methinks  I  see  her  here ;  she 
will  resemble  you,  notwithstanding  she  bears  the  mark  of  the 
workman.  It  is  true,  this  nose  is  a  strange  affair ;  but  it  will 
improve,  and  I  will  answer  for  it,  she  will  be  handsome, 

Madame  de  Vins  is  still  here ;  she  is  now  in  my  closet,  en-, 
gaged  in  conversation  with  D'Hacqueville  and  my  son.  His 
heel  is  still  so  bad  that  he  may  perhaps  go  to  Bourbon  when 
I  go  to  Vichi.  Be  under  no  concern  about  this  journey ;  and 
since  it  is  not  the  will  of  Heaven  that  I  should  enjoy  the 
charms  of  your  society,  we  must  yield  obedience  to  his  will ; 
it  is  a  bitter  evil,  but  it  must  be  endured  ;  we  are  the  weakest, 
and  to  attempt  resistance  is  vain.  I  should  be  too  happy  if 
your  friendship  was  clothed  in  all  its  realities ;  it  is  still  ex« 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  165 

tremely  dear  to  me,  though  divested  of  the  charms  and  plea- 
sures which  your  presence  and  company  bestow  upon  it.  My 
son  and  I  will  answer  all  you  have  said  on  the  subject  of  epic 
poetry.  The  contempt  I  know  he  has  for  Eneas,  makes  me 
apprehensive  he  will  be  of  your  opinion.  Yet  all  the  great 
wits  have  a  taste  for  every  thing  written  by  the  ancients. 


Epoisses,  "Wednesday  morning,  August  25,  1677. 
I  have  here,  my  beloved  child,  received  your  letter  of  the 
11th,  which  I  expected  with  so  much  impatience  ;  I  am  not 
used  to  such  delays ;  it  renders  my  whole  journey  uncomfort- 
able to  be  thus  disappointed.  M.  Guitaut  does  all  he  can  to 
convince  me  how  extremely  glad  he  is  to  see  me  here.  All 
our  people  are  at  Boubilly,  where  the  farmer  treated  us  yes- 
terday with  a  most  plentiful  dinner.  M.  de  Guitaut  and  M.  de 
Trichateau  were  there ;  this  gave  an  air  of  comfort  to  the 
frightful  Boubilly-house.  I  shall  continue  here  till  Sunday, 
and  will  write  to  you  once  more  from  this  place.  There  is  no 
sort  of  constraint  in  this  house,  so  that  I  can  read,  work,  or 
walk  out,  when  I  please.  My  host  and  I  have  a  great  deal  of 
conversation  together,  and  there  is  hardly  a  country  you  can 
name  where  we  have  not  been  travelers.  He  tells  me  a  thou- 
sand stories  of  Provence,  of  the  intendant  and  Vardes,  which 
I  was  ignorant  of  till  now.  He  seems  very  devout ;  follows 
good  teachers ;  has  a  great  desire  to  pay  his  old  debts,  and  to 
contract  no  new  ones.  This  is  the  first  step  to  be  taken  when 
we  become  acquainted  with  true  religion. 


Yichi,  Wednesday  evening,  Sept.  22,  1677. 
I  have  just  received  a  letter  of  the  15th.     I  fancy  it  has 
taken  a  trip  to  Paris.     The  chevalier  has  received  one  from 

166  LETTERS    TO 

the*  handsome  abbe,  of  the  same  date-,  which  shows  me  you 
were  well,  at  least  on  that  day.  It  is  true  that  if  Vardes  had 
mentioned  your  illness  to  me,  in  terms  ever  so  little  stronger 
than  those  he  used,  no  consideration  would  have  kept  me  from 
you#;  but  he  managed  so  well,  that  I  have  no  food  for  uneasi- 
ness but  what  is  passed  by.  I  conjure  you,  my  beloved  child, 
to  send  me  word  of  the  return  of  your  health  and  beauty.  I 
can  not  dispense  with  this  intelligence,  nor  can  I  endure  the 
thoughts  of  your  being  less  handsome  at  your  age.  Do  not 
fancy,  therefore,  that  you  can  reconcile  me  to  your  extreme 
thinness,  which  is  too  plain  a  proof  of  your  ill  state  of  health  : 
mine  is  as  perfect  as  it  can  be.  I  put  an  end  to-morrow  to  all 
my  business,  and  take  my  last  medicine.  I  have  drunk  the 
waters  sixteen  days,  have  twice  used  the  pump  and  the  hot- 
bath  ;  but  the  pump  was  two  much  for  me,  and  I  am  sorry  for 
it,  but  it  made  me  too  hot  and  giddy ;  in  short,  I  had  no  oc- 
casion for  it,  and  drinking  the  waters  was  sufficient.  I  set  out 
on  Friday  for  Langlar.  My  messmates,  Termes,  Flamarens, 
and  Jussac,  will  follow  me  thither.  The  chevalier  will  come  to 
see  me  on  Saturday,  and  will  return  on  Monday  to  begin  the 
pump.  He  will  be  only  a  week  without  me.  He  will  receive 
in  my  absence  a  thousand  presents  from  my  friends,  and  is  very 
well  satisfied  with  me.  My  hands  are  better  ;  the  inconve- 
nience is  so  very  slight,  that  I  shall  use  no  remedy  but  time. 
I  am  perfectly  in  despair,  my  child,  at  the  frightful  ideas  you 
entertain.  Heavens  !  is  it  possible,  that  in  my  present  state 
of  health,  I  can  do  you  any  injury  ?  It  is  certainly  very  much 
against  my  inclination  if  I  do.  I  know  not  whether  it  is  your 
intention  to  write  me  such  admirable  passages  as  you  are  ac- 
customed to  do.  You  could  not  possibly  fail  to  succeed  in 
such  attempt,  and  I  can  assure  you  they  would  not  be  suf- 
fered to  be  forgotten  :  you  are  not  sensible  of  the  brilliancy  of 
what  you  say,  and  so  much  the  better.  You  have  some  little 
inclination  to  divert  yourself  at  the  expense  of  your  humble 
servant,  as  well  as  at  her  stays  and  head-dress  ;  but  you  would 
certainly  have  fallen  in  love  with  me  had  you,  seen  the  fine 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN,  167 

figure  I  cut  at  the  well.  I  have  a  notion  the  Hotel  de  Carna- 
valet  will  suit  us  better  than  the  other  house  we  heard  of, 
which  is  so  small  that  not  one  of  your  people  could  possibly 
have  been  accommodated  there.  We  shall  see  what  the  great 
D'Hacqueville  will  do.  'I  tremble  lest  Madame  de  l'Islebonne 
should  take  it  into  her  head  to  stay.  I  am  still  very  uneasy 
about  Corbinelli ;  he  has  been  very  severely  handled  by  his 
ague,  his  delirium,  and  every  thing  that  is  frightful.  He  takes 
the  potable  gold ;  we  shall  see  what  effect  it  produces.*  I 
desire  you  would  still  talk  to  me  of  yourself  and  your  health. 
Do  you  use  no  method  to  repair  the  loss  of  your  two  bleed- 
ings ?  Good  heavens  !  what  a  disorder  !  and  what  apprehen- 
sions must  it  give  to  those  who  love  you  !  Here  come  the 
chevalier  and  the  rest  of  my  old  companions,  with  one  who  cer- 
tainly plays  a  better  fiddle  than  Baptiste.  We  should  be  de- 
lighted to  send  you  and  M.  de  Grignan  a  chacone  and  an  echo 
with  which  he  charms  us,  and  with  which  you  would  likewise 
be  charmed.     You  shall  hear  him  this  winter. 


Paris,  Friday,  October  15,  16*77. 
We  have  been  at  Livri  for  these  two  days ;  Madame  de 
Coulanges,  who  is  quite  well,  doing  the  honors  of  the  house, 

*  The  time  was  at  hand  when  the  most  pompous  names  given  to  the 
most  complicated  mixture,  served  to  vail  the  ignorance  of  the  chemists, 
physicians,  and  apothecaries,  and  to  increase  their  bills.  Potable  gold 
was  one  of  those  whimsical  remedies,  of  which  muriatic  acid  was  the 
basis.  The  solution  of  gold,  which  was  added  to  it,  was  only  used  to 
swell  the  expense.  Powdered  pearls  were  also  sometimes  used  to  make 
their  drugs  still  dearer.  The  severe  Guy-Patin  had  no  mercy  upon  these 
quacks.  He  calls  them  Arabian  cooks,  and  laughs  at  their  farrago.  He, 
and  some  of  his  medical  friends,  prided  themselves  upon  having  de- 
stroyed this  colossal  extortion.  Their  triumph  was  premature.  The 
cheap  medicines  they  pretended  to  have  restored,  were  not  at  that  time 
received  by  people  of  rank ;  and  it  appears  that  Corbinelli  was  treated 
like  a  nobleman,  whether  he  would  or  not. 

168  LETTERS     TO 

and  I  the  company.  We  had  the  Abbe  Tetu  and  Corbinelli 
with  us.  Mademoiselle  de  Meri,  who  was  returning  from  La 
Trousse,  came  there  too,  thinking  to  spend  some  days  with 
Madame  de  Coulanges ;  but  this  lady  has  ended  her  campaign, 
and  we  all  returned  yesterday  to  Paris.  Mademoiselle  de 
Meri  went  directly  to  Madame  de  MereuiPs,  for  her  own  house 
was,  it  seems,  in  complete  disorder ;  and  Madame  de  Cou» 
langes,  the  Abbe  Tetu  and  I,  paid  some  visits  in  the  country, 
like  Madame  de  la  Fayette  at  Saint  Maur,  and  Madame  de 
Schomberg  at  Rambouillet.  I  thought  of  sleeping  at  Madame 
de  Coulanges',  but  for  that  night  only.  I  returned  here  to 
visit  the  good  abbe,  who  has  been  bled,  and  is  still  much  in- 
disposed with  his  cold  ;  I  am  sorry  I  could  not  help  leaving 
him  for  this  little  moment.  We  live  quite  in  the  open  air ;  all 
my  people  are  as  busy  as  bees  in  packing  up  for  our  removal. 
I  encamped  in  my  own  bed-chamber  ;  and  am  now  in  that  of 
the  worthy,  my  whole  furniture  being  a  little  table,  on  which 
I  now  write  to  you,  and  that  is  sufficient.  I  fancy  we  shall  all 
be  pleased  with  our  Hotel  de  Carnavalet.  We  think  it  strange 
not  to  have  seen  Termes,  though  we  have  been  home  these 
nine  days.  It  is  easy  to  guess  that  he  has  returned  to  his  col- 
lege, and  that  his  regent  gives  him  not  a  moment's  relaxation. 
I  am  not  at  all  sorry,  as  you  may  very  well  suppose,  and  shall 
not  reproach  him  for  it ;  but  ask  the  chevalier,  whether,  after 
the  great  pleasure  he  took  in  talking  with  me  at  Vichi,  such 
extreme  indifference  be  not  very  singular.  It  would  certainly 
be  very  indiscreet,  if  the  lady  stood  in  need  of  being  directed, 
and  such  conduct  would  be  something  to  talk  of;  but  it  is 
impossible  to  do  her  any  injury.  I  thought  he  seemed  quite 
delighted  at  Vichi,  on  account  of  the  vocation  as  you  say,  and 
to  be  with  a  good  sort  of  woman,  in  full  assurance  of  having 
no  demands  made  upon  him.  This  repose  charmed  him; 
there  is  sometimes  great  pleasure  in  passing  from  one  extreme 
to  another.  He  was  mightily  taken  with  the  perpetual  gos- 
sip of  Vichi.  You  see  what  the  consequence  of  this  has  been, 
at  which  I  am  under  no  sort  of  concern,  but  I  tell  it  you  as  I 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  169 

do  a  thousand  things  else.  When  excess  and  imprudence  are 
pushed  to  a  certain  extreme,  I  am  persuaded  they  are  more 
injurious  to  men  than  women;  at  least  their  fortunes  are 
always  sure  to  pay  considerably  for  it.  But  let  us  leave 
Termes  under  the  ferula ;  there  is  a  good  deal  to  be  said  of 
another  old  ferula*  which  discovers  its  severity  too  much. 
As  for  you,  my  child,  you  enjoy  a  real  vacation,  and  make  an 
admirable  use  of  the  fine  weather  ;  to  dine  at  home  in  your 
own  house  is  a  very  extraordinary  affair.  You  write  to  me 
from  Rochecourbiere — what  a  pretty  place  to  date  from ! 
what  a  delightful  grotto  !  How  amiable  you  are  to  remember 
me  at  that  delightful  place,  and  to  be  sorry  that  I  am  not 
there  to  share  its  pleasures  with  you !  Let  us  leave  Provi- 
dence to  dispose  of  affairs  at  his  pleasure ;  we  shall  see  one  an- 
other again,  my  love.  In  the  mean  time  I  shall  prepare  to  receive 
you  at  Carnavalet,  where  I  shall  again  have  the  pleasure  of  ren- 
dering you  a  thousand  little  services,  which  are  of  no  real  im- 
portance ;  but  I  am  happy  in  the  opportunity,  because  you 
wrote  me  word  the  other  day,  that  little  attentions  were  a 
stronger  proof  of  friendship  than  any  other.  It  is  true,  we 
can  not  set  too  high  a  value  upon  them ;  self-love  has  cer- 
tainly too  large  a  share  in  what  we  do  on  great  occasions. 
Tender  interest  is  swallowed  up  in  pride  ;  this  is  an  idea  of 
yours  which  I  would  not  for  the  world  deprive  you  of,  as  I 
find  my  account  in  it  but  too  well. 

I  am,  in  regard  to  the  loss  of  Bayard,  precisely  in  the  same 
disposition  you  guessed  I  was.  Madame  de  la  Fayette  is  ut- 
terly inconsolable.     I  have  presented  your  compliments  to 

*  This  old  ferula  is  apparently  the  Marchioness  de  Castelnau,  who 
was  long  and  publicly  the  mistress  of  M.  de  Termes.  The  Amours  des 
Gaules,  in  which  this  is  found,  has  very  much  defamed  this  marquis. 
If  this  part  was  written  by  Bussy  as  well  as  the  rest,  he  must  have  been 
very  wicked,  for  his  letters  show  that  the  Marquis  de  Termes  was  his 
steady  friend.  He  also  possessed  all  the  requisites  to  excite  his  jeal- 
ousy. He  was  one  of  those  in  whom  Boileau  acknowledged  a  superior 
mind.  "M.  de  Termes,"  said  he,  "is  always  of  the  opinion  of  others, 
and  this  is  true  politeness."    (Vide  la  Boleana.) 


170  LETTERS     TO 

her.  She  was  then  living  on  a  milk  diet,  which  she  has  dis- 
continued on  account  of  its  turning  acid  on  her  stomach  ;  so 
that  we  have  lost  this  sole  ground  of  hope  of  the  recovery  of 
her  desperate  state  of  health.  That  of  M.  de  Maine  is  cer- 
tainly far  from  being  good.  He  is  at  Versailles,  where  no  one 
has  seen  him ;  they  say  he  walks  worse  than  he  did.  In 
short,  I  really  fancy  there  is  something  in  it. 


Paris,  Wednesday,  October  27,  1677. 

I  shall  no  longer,  my  child,  ask  you  why.  In  three  words, 
my  horses  are  thin,  my  tooth  is  loose,  and  my  preceptor  has 
got  the  king's  evil.  All  this  is  dreadful.  One  might  well 
make  three  grievances  of  these  three  answers,  and  especially 
of  the  second.  I  shall  not  ask  you  after  this,  whether  your 
watch  goes  right,  for  you  will  then  tell  me  it  is  broken. 
Paulina  answers  much  better  than  you  do ;  nothing  can  be 
more  amusing  than  the  little  rogueries  she  means  to  be  guilty 
of,  when  she  says  she  will  be  a  rogue  some  day  or  other  her- 
self. Ah,  how  sorry  I  am  thai  I  can  not  see  this  dear  child  ! 
I  fancy  you  will  soon  console  me  for  this,  if  you  pursue  the 
plan  I  have  laid  down  to  you  ;  you  will  set  out  at  furthest  in 
a  week,  and  will  not  receive  this  letter  at  Grignan.  M.  de 
Coulanges  is  to  set  out  to-day  by  the  stage-coach  for  Lyons, 
where  you  will  find  him  ;  he  will  inform  you  how  delightfully 
we  are  accommodated.  There  was  no  hesitation  in  choosing 
the  upper  part  of  the  house  for  you  and  me,  and  the  lower  for 
M.  de  Grignan  and  his  daughters ;  so  that  all  will  be  perfectly 

I  recommend  to  all  your  Grignans,  who  are  so  careful  of 
your  health,  to  see  that  you  do  not  fall  into  the  Rhone,  by  the 
cruel  pleasure  you  take  in  exposing  yourself  to  its  greatest 
dangers.  I  entreat  them  to  turn  cowards,  and  to  land  with 
you.     I  find,  besides,  that  I  shall  be  very  happy  to  administer 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  171 

to  you  some  of  my  chicken-broth.  The  place  you  desire  at 
my  table,  you  may  be  assured  is  yours.  The  regimen  which 
your  Grignans  prescribe  for  you  is  my  ordinary  fare.  I  agree 
with  Grisoni  to  banish  all  ragouts. 


Livri,  Wednesday,  October  25,  1679. 

I  am  here  alone ;  I  was  loath  to  suffer  any  irksomeness  but 
my  own.  No  company  tempts  me  to  begin  my  winter  so 
soon.  If  I  chose  it,  I  could  assume  an  air  of  solitude ;  but 
after  hearing  Madame  de  Brisac  say,  the  other  day,  that  she 
was  wholly  engaged  in  her  meditations,  and  had  rather  too 
much  of  her  own  company,  I  am  proud  to  boast  that  I  have 
passed  this  whole  afternoon  in  the  meadow,  in  conference  with 
our  sheep  and  cows.  I  have  store  of  good  books,  especially 
Montaigne ;  what  could  I  desire  more,  since  I  can  not  have 
you  ?  I  have  the  favor  of  your  last  letter  at  this  place.  You 
fancy  I  am  at  Paris,  sitting  in  the  chimney-corner,  and  have, 
no  doubt,  sitting  by  your  own,  received  my  lamentations  on 
the  fatigue  of  your  journey ;  what  a  dreadful  thing  it  is  to  be 
at  such  a  distance !  It  is  impossible  to  be  more  astonished 
than  I  was  to  find  you  with  M.  and  Madame  de  Memes  ;  I  fan- 
cied you  had  been  deceived,  and  that  you  were  to  have  re- 
ceived them  at  Livri.  They  write  to  me  to  express  how  much 
they  are  charmed  at  the  reception  you  have  given  them :  they 
are  very  desirous  to  see  me,  which  is  the  strongest  inducement 
for  my  returning  so  speedily. 

You  are  in  the  right  to  suppress  Paulina's  modesty ;  it  will 
be  worn  out  by  the  time  she  is  fifteen ;  a  premature  and  ill- 
timed  modesty  may  have  sad  consequences.  You  are  in  jest, 
to  thank  Corbinelli  for  the  compliment  he  paid  your  good 
sense.  He  merely  thinks  you  superior  to  others  ;  and  when 
he  says  so,  he  says  what  he  thinks,  and  has  no  intention  to 
flatter  you.     He  would  have  said  a  word  or  two  in  my  letter, 

172  LETTERS    TO 

on  the  compliments  you  were  pleased  to  make  him  ;  but  this 
I  intend  to  wave  till  my  return.  M.  and  Madame  de  Rohan 
have  not  thought  of  making  him  a  present,  out  of  the  two 
thousand  five  hundred  pistoles  they  received  at  the  assembly 
of  the  States,  under  the  title  of  the  little  prince  of  Leon.  Some 
people  have  a  strange  destiny ;  Corbinelli's  seems  to  be  to 
hold  ir,  the  most  sovereign  contempt  what  other  folks  prize  in 
the  highest  degree.  It  is  true,  I  was  very  much  amused  with 
his  conversation,  and  that  of  the  Abbe  de  Piles  ;*  they  agreed 
in  many  things,  though  there  were  some  of  harder  digestion, 
which  they  seemed  to  chew  upon.  M.  de  Rochefoucault  calls 
this  eating  hot  peas  :  I  am  sure  they  had  a  good  dish  of  them  ; 
for  this  forest  is  adapted  for  such  things.  The  fat  abbe  has 
entered  on  his  office  of  gazetteer,  so  you  need  be  under  no  un- 
easiness about  answers ;  he  is  better  calculated  for  the  office 
than  I  am. 

Your  brother  is  a  strange  creature ;  he  could  not,  for  the 
soul  of  him,  help  spoiling  all  the  wonders  he  performed  at  the 
assembly  of  the  States,  by  an  absurd  fancy  and  a  pretense  of 
being  in  love  perfectly  ridiculous.  The  object  is  a  Mademoi- 
selle de  la  Coste,  upward  of  thirty  years  of  age,  without  for- 
tune or  beauty ;  even  her  father  says  he  is  very  sorry  for  it, 
ind  that  it  is  by  no  means  a  fit  match  for  M.  de  Sevigne  ;  he 
writes  me  so  himself;  I  commend  and  thank  him  for  his  pru- 
lence.  What  do  you  suppose  your  brother  has  done  since  ? 
le  has  never  quitted  his  damsel,  but  has  followed  her  to 
tlennes  and  Lower  Brittany,  where  she  has  gone  under  pre- 
tense of  visiting  Tonquedec ;  he  has  almost  turned  her  brain, 
and  has  put  her  out  of  conceit  with  a  very  proper  match  she 
had  in  some  degree  contracted ;  it  is  the  talk  of  the  whole 
province.  M  de  Coulanges,  and  all  my  friends  in  Brittany, 
write  to  me  about  it,  and  are  all  persuaded  he  will  certainly 

*  The  same,  probably,  who  has  made  himself  known  by  his  works 
on  painting.  He  studied  in  the  Sorbonne.  He  afterward  went  to 
Italy  with  the  younger  Amelot,  whom  he  educated.  He  was  also  em  • 
ployed  in  several  negotiations. 


marry  her.  For  my  own  part,  I  am  convinced  of  the  contrary ; 
but  I  ask  him  why  he  so  unnecessarily  disgraces  his  poor 
head,  after  such  a  promising  commencement  ?  why  he  makes 
the  lady  reject  an  offer  she  now  looks  upon  with  the  most 
sovereign  contempt  ?  and  why  this  perfidy  ?  If  it  is  not  perfi- 
dy, it  will  have  some  other  name,  since  I  am  determined,  let 
wbat  will  happen,  never  to  sign  the  marriage-contract.  If  he 
be  really  in  love,  so  much  the  worse,  for  this  is  a  source  of  the 
most  extravagant  actions ;  but  as  I  think  him  incapable  of  that 
passion,  I  should  scruple,  were  I  in  his  place,  thus  wantonly  to 
wound  the  repose  and  the  fortune  of  one  he  can  so  easily  dis- 
pense with.  He  is  now  at  the  Rocks,  from  whence  he  writes 
to  me  about  this  journey  to  Tonquedec's,  but  not  a  syllable  of 
his  Dulcinea,  or  of  this  noble  flame.  Only  in  general  terms, 
a  great  many  fine  things,  and  compliments  without  number. 
In  short,  it  is  an  affair  I  leave  entirely  to  the  disposal  of  Prov- 


Paris,  Friday,  Nov.  10,  1679. 
I  am  no  longer  a  shepherdess,  my  poor  child ;  I  have  left 
with  regret  my  solitary  conversation  with  your  letters,  and 
your  image,  aided  by  Louison,  our  cows  and  sheep,  and  the 
twilight,  which  I  embraced  with  eagerness,  because  I  would 
neither  spare  nor  flatter  myself.  I  am  now  in  the  refinements 
of  the  Hotel  de  Carnavalet,  where  I  find  I  am  not  less  occupied 
with  you,  that  your  letters  are  not  less  dear  to  me,  or  that  any 
thing  in  the  world  is  capable  of  driving  you  from  my  thoughts. 
I  shall  have  little  news  to  tell  you ;  I  know  scarcely  any  at 
present ;  but  what  I  hear  comes  from  good  authority,  and  may 
be  depended  on.  You  assure  me,  my  dearest  child,  you  are 
perfectly  well.  God  grant  it  be  so ;  this  is  soon  said.  I  wish 
you  would  not  write  me  such  long  letters ;  I  am  certain  they 
do  you  harm.     Were  it  not  for  this  consideration,  you  may 

174  LETTERS    TO 

believe  I  should  be  glad  they  were  as  long  as  possible ;  but 
this  apprehension  damps  all  the  pleasure  I  receive  from  them. 
Du  Chene  told  me  the  other  day  nothing  could  be  worse  for 
you  than  much  writing.  The  time  must  come,  my  child, 
when  you  will  write  less  ;  and  when  you  are  here,  you  must 
think  of  your  health,  and  your  recovery.  We  will  take  care 
to  put  the  Hotel  de  Carnavalet  in  as  good  order  as  possible 
for  you.  The  good  abbe  wishes  this  as  much  as  I  do.  Pray, 
write  me  no  more  bad  accounts  of  yourself,  nor  imagine  that 
your  letters  are  better  than  your  conversation ;  I  should  be 
unworthy  of  your  love  were  I  capable  of  entertaining  such 
a  thought.  I  am  convinced  of  your  affection,  and  I  have  as 
much  relish  for  your  society  as  those  who  are  most  delighted 
with  your  conversation.  Ah !  did  you  know  the  power  of  a 
word,  a  look,  a  kind  expression,  or  a  caress  from  you,  and  from 
what  distant  countries  one  of  these  could  bring  me,  you  would 
be  convinced,  my  beauty,  that  nothing  is  equal  to  your  pres- 
ence !  The  account  of  your  devotion  on  All-Saints'  day  has 
affected  me  strangely.  It  was  delightful  to  cram  all  your  lit- 
tle ones  into  the  same  litter — dear  little  party !  Had  I  been 
of  your  council,  I  should  have  given  my  vote  for  doing  just 
as  you  did,  as  you  will  see  by  my  advice  to  Paulina,  in  the 
regular  answer  I  have  written  her.  Lovely  child !  it  is  impos- 
sible she  can  ever  tire  you.  Enjoy,  my  love,  all  these  little 
comforts,  and  instead  of  thinking  of  depriving  yourself  of  them, 
think  of  the  numberless  evils  of  this  mortal  and  transitory 

I  finish  this  letter  at  Mademoiselle  de  Meri's,  where  I  also 
close  my  packet.  She  is  quite  exhausted  with  the  vapors  and 
evacuations,  and  is  incapable  of  writing  a  single  syllable  ;  she 
tells  you  by  me  all  she  should  write  to  you  if  she  were  able. 
I  have  been  just  visiting  that  poor  chevalier  who  keeps  his  bed 
with  pains  in  his  neck  and  hip.  This  rheumatic  humor  never 
leaves  him ;  I  have  more  compassion  than  other  people  for 
this  disorder.  I  am  of  opinion  his  illness  will  not  be  of  long 
continuance.  He  feels  the  serosities  already  beginning  to  dissi- 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  175 

pate.  He  wants  a  good  pumping,  if  the  season  permitted  it, 
He  gave  me  his  letter  to  inclose  in  my  packet ;  these  poor 
sick  people  must  be  taken  care  of;  all  the  rest  of  Paris  is  ill 
of  a  cold : 

Us  ne  mouraient  pas  tous ;  mais  tous  etaient  frappes. 
They  died  not  all;  though  none  escaped  a  wound :* 

as  you  used  to  say.  Adieu,  my  dear  girl !  I  embrace  you 
with  the  warmest  affection,  with  all  your  great  and  little 


Paris,  Wednesday,  Nov.  22,  16*79. 
What  I  am  going  to  tell  you,  my  dear  child,  will  both  sur- 
prise and  vex  you.  M.  de  Pomponne  is  out  of  favor ;  he 
had  orders  on  Saturday  evening,  as  he  was  returning  from 
Pomponne,  to  resign  his  office.  The  king  has  directed  that 
he  should  receive  seven  hundred  thousand  livres,  and  that  his 
pension  of  twenty  thousand  livres  a  year,  which  he  had  as 
minister,  should  be  continued  to  him ;  intending,  by  this,  to 
show  that  he  was  satisfied  with  his  fidelity.  It  was  M.  Col- 
bert who  gave  him  his  information,  assuring  him  at  the  same 
time  that  he  was  extremely  mortified  to  be  obliged,  etc.  M.  de 
Pomponne  asked  him  whether  he  might  not  be  allowed  the 
honor  of  speaking  to  the  king,  to  learn  from  his  own  mouth 
what  fault  he  had  committed  that  brought  this  stroke  upon 
him  :  he  was  told,  he  could  not ;  so  he  wrote  to  the  king,  ex- 
pressing his  extreme  sorrow,  and  his  utter  ignorance  of  what 
could  have  contributed  to  his  disgrace.  He  mentioned  his  nu- 
merous family,  and  besought  him  to  have  compassion  on  his 
eight  children.  Immediately  after,  he  caused  the  horses  to  be 
put  into  his  carriage,  and  returned  to  Paris,  where  he  arrived 

*  A  verse  of  La  Fontaine,  in  his  fable  of  Les  Animaux  Malades  de 
la  Peste. 

176  LETTERS     TO 

at  twelve  at  night.  M.  de  Chaulnes,  Caumartin,  and  I,  had 
been,  as  I  wrote  you,  on  the  Friday  at  Pomponne,  where  we 
found  him  and  the  ladies,  who  received  us  with  allt  he  pleas- 
ure imaginable.  We  chatted  all  the  evening,  and  played  at 
chess  :  ah  !  what  a  checkmate  they  were  preparing  for  him  at 
St.  Germain  !  He  went  thither  the  next  morning,  because  a 
courier  waited  for  him  ;  so  that  M.  Colbert,  who  thought  to 
find  him  on  Saturday  evening,  as  usual,  knowing  he  was  set  out 
for  St.  Germain,  returned  instantly,  and  had  nearly  killed  his 
horses.  For  ourselves,  we  did  not  leave  Pomponne  till  after 
dinner,  where  we  left  the  ladies.  It  was  necessary  to  inform 
them  of  what  had  happened,  by  letter ;  this  was  brought  by  one 
of  M.  de  Pomponne's  valets,  who  arrived  at  nine  on  the  Sun- 
day at  Madame  de  Vins'  apartment ;  the  man's  precipitation, 
and  his  altered  looks,  made  Madame  de  Vins  fancy  he  had 
brought  the  account  of  M.  de  Pomponne's  death  ;  so  that  on 
finding  he  was  only  disgraced,  she  breathed  again ;  but  she 
felt  the  extent  of  his  misfortune,  and  when  she  was  sufficiently 
recovered  went  to  acquaint  her  sister  with  it.  They  set  out 
that  instant,  leaving  all  the  little  boys  in  tears ;  and  arrived 
in  Paris  at  two  in  the  afternoon,  overwhelmed  with  grief. 
You  may  figure  to  yourself  this  interview  with  M.  de  Pom- 
ponne, and  what  they  felt  on  meeting  each  other  in  so  differ- 
ent a  situation  from  what  they  were  in  the  evening  before.  I 
learned  this  sad  intelligence  from  the  Abbe  de  Grignan,  and  I 
confess  to  you  it  pierced  me  to  the  heart.  I  went  to  their 
house  in  the  evening ;  they  saw  no  company  in  public.  I  went 
up  stairs,  and  found  them  all  three.  M.  de  Pomponne  em- 
braced me  without  being  able  to  utter  a  word ;  the  ladies 
could  not  restrain  their  tears,  nor  I  mine.  You  would  have 
wept  too,  my  child  ;  it  was  really  a  melancholy  spectacle  ;  the 
circumstance  of  our  quitting  each  other  at  Pomponne  so 
differently,  augmented  our  sorrows.  Poor  Madame  de  Vins, 
whom  I  left  in  such  spirits,  could  hardly  be  recognized ;  a 
fever  of  a  fortnight  could  scarcely  have  altered  her  more.  She 
mentioned  you  to  me,  and  said  she  was  persuaded  you  would 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  177 

feel  for  ner  and  M.  de  Pomponne's  affliction,  which  I  assured 
her  you  would.  We  spoke  of  the  blow  she  felt  from  this  dis- 
grace, both  in  regard  to  her  affairs,  her  situation,  and  her  hus- 
band's fortune.  I  do  assure  you,  she  feels  all  this  in  its  great- 
est horror.  M.  de  Pomponne,  it  is  true,  was  not  a  favorite, 
but  his  situation  gave  him  an  opportunity  to  obtain  certain 
common  things,  which  often  make  our  fortune.  There  are 
many  inferior  situations  sufficient  to  make  the  fortunes  of  in- 
dividuals. It  was  besides  pleasant  to  be  thus  in  a  manner  set- 
tled at  court.  What  a  change  !  what  retrenching,  what  econ- 
omy, must  now  be  made  use  of  in  his  family !  Eight  children, 
and  not  to  have  had  time  to  obtain  the  smallest  favor !  They 
are  thirty  thousand  livres  in  debt ;  you  may  suppose  how  little 
they  will  have  left :  they  are  going  to  a  miserable  retreat  at 
Paris  and  Pomponne.  It  is  said  so  many  journeys,  and  some- 
times the  attendance  of  couriers,  even  that  of  Bavaria,  who 
arrived  on  the  Friday,  and  whom  the  king  waited  for  with 
impatience,  have  contributed  to  draw  this  misfortune  upon 
them.*     But  you  will  easily  comprehend  in  this  the  ways  of 

*  The  memoirs  and  letters  of  the  cotemporary  writers  all  agree 
that  M.  de  Pomponne's  negligence  was  the  cause  of  his  disgrace.  The 
more  modern  historians,  even  Henault,  keep  to  the  received  opinion. 
How  could  they  fail  to  remark,  that  Louis  XIV.,  in  a  memorandum 
written  in  his  own  hand,  and  mentioned  by  Yoltaire,  has  himself  ex- 
plained very  differently  the  cause  of  this  minister's  dismissal?  "All 
that  passed  through  his  hands,  lost  the  grandeur  and  strength  it  ought 
to  have  displayed,  as  being  the  orders  of  a  king  of  France."  These 
are  his  own  words.  Every  one  knows,  in  reality,  that  it  was  from  the 
treaty  of  Nimeguen,  a  single  year  prior  to  M.  de  Pomponne's  disgrace, 
the  dominion  and  authority  of  Louis  XI Y.  affected  over  all  Europe, 
were  dated.  From  this  period  his  ministers  treated  the  foreign  embas- 
sadors with  insulting  arrogance.  The  famous  chambers  of  reunion 
were  established.  Strasbourg  was  taken  possession  of  by  violence. 
Advances  were  made  into  Italy.  No  conciliatory  measures  were 
adopted.     All  the  states  were  irritated. 

Bat  besides  M.  de  Pomponne's  having  the  crime  of  leaning  toward 
the  Jansenists,  Louvois  and  Colbert,  though  enemies  to  each  other, 
both  labored  to  ruin  him ;  the  first  to  place  his  friend  M.  Courtin  in 


178  LETTERS     TO 

Providence,  when  I  tell  you,  the  President  Colbert  has  his 
place  ;  as  he  is  in  Bavaria,  his  brother  officiates  in  his  absence, 
and  wrote  to  congratulate  him,  and  to  surprise  him,  on  the 
back  of  the  letter,  as  if  by  mistake ;  "  To  M.  Colbert,  Min- 
ister and  Secretary  of  State."  I  paid  my  compliments  of  con- 
dolence to  the  unfortunate  family.  Reflect  a  little  on  the 
power  of  this  family,  as  well  at  home  as  abroad,  and  you  will 
easily  perceive  it  far  exceeds  that  of  the  other  house  where  a 
wedding  is  going  on.*  My  poor  child,  this  is  a  long  and  cir- 
cumstantial account ;  but  I  think,  on  such  occasions,  we  can 
not  be  too  particular ;  you  are  pleased  we  should  always  be 
talking  to  you,  and  in  this  instance  I  have  perhaps  complied 
with  your  desires  too  much.  When  your  courier  arrives,  I 
shall  have  nowhere  to  send  him  ;  and  it  is  an  additional  mor- 
tification to  me  to  find  I  shall  henceforth  be  entirely  useless  to 
you ;  though  it  is  true,  I  was  already  so,  by  means  of  Ma- 
dame de  Vins  ;  but  that  was  meant  in  mere  jest.  In  short, 
my  child,  all  is  now  at  an  end,  and  such  is  the  way  of  the 
world.  M.  de  Pomponne  is  better  qualified  than  any  man 
upon  earth  to  support  this  misfortune  with  courage  and  with 
truly  Christian  resignation.  Those  who  have  acted  like  him 
in  prosperity,  can  not  fail  to  be  pitied  in  their  misfortunes. 

I  must,  however,  add  a  word  or  two  respecting  your  letter ; 
it  gave  me  real  consolation.  You  tell  me  the  little  boy  is 
quite  recovered,  and  that  I  should  be  satisfied  with  yourself  if 
I  were  to  see  you.  Ah,  my  child,  it  is  indeed  true  ;  what  a 
delightful  sight  would  it  be  to  me  to  see  you  really  occupied 
with  the  care  of  your  health,  by  taking  the  necessary  repose 
to  recruit  your  wasted  strength ;  it  is  a  pleasure  you  have 
never  yet  afforded  me.  You  find  this  care  is  by  no  means 
useless  :  you  already  discover  its  salutary  effects ;  and  if  I  tor- 

his  situation,  and  the  second,  his  brother  Colbert  de  Croissy.  The  last 
succeeded,  to  the  great  rage  of  Louvois. 

*  Madeleine-Charlotte  le  Tellier,  daughter  of  M.  de  Louvois,  mar- 
ried the  next  day,  23d  November,  Francis  Duke  of  Rochefoucault  and 
of  Rocheguyon,  grandson  of  M.  de  la  Rochefoucault. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  179 

ture  myself  here  by  my  endeavors  to  inspire  you  with  the 
same  attention  to  your  welfare,  you  plainly  see  I  have  good 


Paris,  Friday,  Nov.  24,  1679. 

What  a  charming  letter  have  I  just  received  from  you! 
what  exquisite  pleasure  is  it  to  hear  you  reason  thus !  What 
you  say  on  the  subject  of  medicine  delights  me.  I  am  per- 
suaded that,  with  that  understanding  and  quickness  of  appre- 
hension with  which  God  has  endowed  you,  you  might,  with  a 
little  application,  soon  outstrip  the  physicians  themselves.  You 
might,  indeed,  want  a  little  experience,  and  perhaps,  too,  you 
might  not  kill  with  impunity  as  they  do ;  but  I  would  much 
sooner  trust  your  judgment  of  a  disease  than  theirs.  The  only 
real  concern  of  life  is  undoubtedly  the  care  of  our  health  ;  the 
world  seems  to  agree  in  this.  The  general  question  is,  "  How 
are  you  ?  how  are  you  ?"  and  yet  we  are  in  general  wholly 
ignorant  of  every  particular  relating  to  this  important  science. 
Go  on  then,  go  on,  my  child  ;  finish  the  course  of  your  studies ; 
the  scarlet  gown  is  all  the  diploma  you  will  stand  in  need  of, 
as  in  the  play.*  Pray,  what  do  you  mean  by  sending  us  your 
little  physician  ?  I  assure  you  ours  have  entirely  lost  their 
credit  here,  except  three  or  four  of  our  acquaintance,  and  who 
prescribe  the  Englishman's  recipe ;  all  the  rest  are  held  in 
utter  abhorrence.  This  Englishman  recovered  Marshal  de 
Bellefond  the  other  day  from  death's  door.  I  do  not  think 
the  first  physician  has  the  right  secret. 

Is  it  then  true,  my  child,  you  have  got  the  better  of  your 
complaints  ?  No  more  pains  in  the  chest,  no  colic,  no  pain  in 
the  legs  ?  This  is  as  it  should  be.  You  see  the  advantage  of 
repose  and  taking  care  to  recruit  yourself.  Can  you  be  angry 
with  me  for  chiding  you  when  you  neglect  yourself,  and  in* 

*  Moli6re's  Malade  Imaginaire. 

180  LETTERS    TO 

humanly  abandon  all  care  of  your  health  ?  I  could  talk  for 
ten  years  about  this  wicked  conduct  in  you,  and  the  benefits 
that  result  from  a  contrary  conduct.  Why  can  not  I  embrace 
you  and  enjoy  your  company  here  in  the  evenings  ?  I  enter 
tl  is  house  with  a  heavy  heart.  From  nine  till  twelve  at  night 
I  am  as  desolate  as  I  was  at  Livri,  and  yet  I  prefer  this  silence 
and  repose  to  all  the  evening  parties  I  am  invited  to  in  this 
part  of  the  town.  I  hate  going  out  of  an  evening.  When  I 
am  not  tormented  with  fears  for  your  health,  I  feel  your  ab- 
sence more.  The  thought  of  your  lungs  is  like  pinching  the 
ear  to  prevent  the  pain  of  boring  it  from  being  felt :  this  com- 
parison I  heard  from  you,  but  the  former  pain  soon  returns 
when  I  am  not  checked  by  the  other.  I  confess  I  never  bear 
your  absence  so  well  as  when  I  am  in  fear  for  your  health,  and 
I  thank  you  a  thousand  times  for  removing  the  pincers  from 
my  ears.  Madame  de  Vins  stands  in  need  of  some  equally 
powerful  means  to  remove  her  affliction  at  M.  de  Pomponne's 
disgrace,  by  which  she  loses  her  all.  I  often  visit  her,  and  no 
misfortune  shall  ever  drive  me  from  the  house.  M.  de  Pom- 
ponne  will  easily  resolve  on  what  is  to  be  done,  and  will  bear 
his  ill-fortune  with  dignity  ;  he  will  again  display  the  virtues 
of  a  private  station,  for  which  we  so  much  admired  him  at 
Frene.  They  say  he  was  rather  remiss  in  his  office,  and  made 
the  couriers  wait  too  long  for  their  dispatches.  He  justifies 
himself  fully.  But,  good  heavens !  do  we  not  plainly  see  where 
the  fault  lies !  Ah  !  how  would  poor  Madame  du  Plessis  have 
adored  him  now !  and  how  would  this  similarity  of  situation 
have  cemented  their  union!  Nothing  in  the  world  would 
have  been  so  fortunate  for  him.  I  have  mentioned  this  to  no 
one  but  Madame  de  Vins  ;  I  suppose  you  understand  me.  1 
can  answer  for  the  justice  of  my  opinion,  which  is,  I  dare  say, 
your  own.  The  whole  court  pities  him,  and  have  been  to  pay 
him  their  compliments  of  condolence  on  the  occasion.  You  will 
soon  see  him  recommence  the  thread  of  his  perfections.  We 
have  talked  a  great  deal  about  Providence,  a  doctrine  he  un- 
derstands perfectly  well.     Surely  there  never  was  so  worthy  a 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  181 

minister.  M.  Colbert,  the  embassador,*  is  to  succeed  in  this 
office  ;  he  is  a  great  Mend  of  the  chevalier's.  Write  all  your 
thoughts  to  the  latter ;  perhaps  Fortune,  capricious  as  she  is, 
intends  you  should  reap  more  advantage  through  his  means 
than  from  our  intimate  acquaintance.  You  will  easily  strike 
into  the  right  road  by  what  I  tell  you.  How  is  it  possible  for 
us  to  know  what  Providence  has  in  store  for  us  ? 

I  continue  my  attentions  to  Mademoiselle  de  Meri ;  the  im- 
pression the  misfortune  of  her  little  domestic  makes  on  her  is 
very  extraordinary.  She  tells  me  she  fancies,  when  any  one 
speaks  to  her,  they  are  shooting  at  her,  as  if  they  had  an  in- 
tention to  kill  her.  This  really  does  her  as  much  harm  as  her 
illness.  It  is  a  circle ;  her  anger  increases  her  disorder,  and 
her  disorder  increases  her  anger.  The  sum  total  is,  that  it  is 
a  very  strange  affair,  and  I  employ  all  my  attention  to  admin- 
ister to  her  relief. 

Corbinelli  gives  up  the  Chevalier  de  Meri,  with  his  pitiful 
style,f  and  the  ridiculous  critique  he  makes  on  a  wit  so  free, 
so  playful,  so  charming,  as  Voiture's :  those  are  to  be  pitied 
who  do  not  understand  him.J  I  would  not  have  you  depend 
on  receiving  the  definition  you  asked  of  him,  for  he  has  read 
nothing  these  three  months  but  the  Code  and  the  Cujas.  He 
is  delighted  with  you  for  resolving  to  study  medicine :  you  are 

*  Mons.  de  Colbert  de  Croissy,  brother  to  the  comptroller-general, 
was  then  in  Bavaria,  in  order  to  conclude  a  marriage  between  Mon- 
seigneur  and  Maria  Anna  Victoria  of  Bavaria. 

f  M.  de  Meri  had  known  and  loved  Madame  de  Maintenon  from  her 
infancy.  He  had  brought  her  out  into  the  world  under  the  name  of  the 
Young  Indian.  He  cultivated  her  friendship  in  all  circumstances.  But 
what  is  singular  is,  that  he  would  have  married  her,  and  that  he  made 
her  the  offer  of  his  hand  at  the  very  time  that  Louis  thought  of  making 
her  his  wife.  The  letters  of  M.  de  Meri,  which  were  found  in  Madame 
de  Maintenon's  collection,  were  indeed  emphatic,  heavy,  and  pedantic, 
and  well  deserved  the  name  "  pitiful  style"  (chien  de  style). 

X  The  French  editors  observe,  justly  enough,  that  as  much  may  be 
said  in  regard  to  those  who  can  not  find  out  the  value  of  these  letters 
of  Madame  de  Sevigne. 

182  \  LETTERS    TO 

a  prodigy  in  his  opinion.  The  calm  ingratitude  of  M.  and 
Madame  Richelieu  is  indeed  a  prodigy ;  you  describe  it  very 
pleasantly.  M.  le  Grand,  and  some  others,  said  seriously  the 
other  day  at  St.  Germain,  that  M.  Richelieu  had  made  an  ad- 
mirable siege  :  it  was  supposed  he  had  been  reading  some  book 
about  the  great  Richelieu's  in  the  civil  wars ;  not  so,  he  meant 
Richelieu  the  tapestry-maker,  who  has  made  an  admirable 
siege  that  hangs  in  his  wife's  apartment. 

Madame  de  Coulanges  has  been  at  court  this  fortnight; 
Madame  de  Maintenon  had  a  cold,  and  would  not  part  with 
her.  I  must  tell  you  of  a  quarrel  she  had  with  the  Countess 
de  Grammont.*  The  latter  was  scorching  her  fine  complexion 
over  the  fire,  making  chocolate ;  Madame  de  Coulanges  would 
have  saved  her  the  trouble.  The  Countess  bid  her  leave  her 
to  herself,  for  it  was  the  only  pleasure  she  had  left.  Madame 
de  Coulanges  answered,  "Ah,  ingrate !"  This  expression, 
which  at  any  other  time  would  have  made  her  laugh,  embar- 
rassed and  disconcerted  her  so  highly,  that  she  could  not  get 
the  better  of  it,  and  they  have  not  spoken  since.  The  Abbe 
Tetu  said,  very  rudely,  to  our  neighbor,  "  But,  madame,  had 
she  answered  you, '  The  pot  calls  the  kettle  black,'  what  would 
you  have  found  to  say  ?"  "  Sir,"  said  she,  "  I  am  no  pot, 
though  she  is  a  kettle."  So  here  is  another  quarrel.  Quanto 
and  the  sick  lady  are  both  on  the  high  ropes ;  the  latter  is  so 
much  in  favor  with  the  fountain  of  all  good  things,  that  it  oc- 
casions a  great  deal  of  animosity.  I  could  tell  you  a  thousand 
trifles  if  you  were  here. 

Ah,  my  child,  you  tell  me  I  have  nothing  to  do  but  laugh, 
when  I  have  your  absence  to  support ;  I  could  almost  find  in 
my  heart  to  say,  "  Ah !  ingrate !"  Do  not  you  remember 
what  this  absence  of  yours  has  made  me  suffer  ?  Are  not  you 
the  sensible  and  true  occupation  of  my  heart  ?  You  well 
know,  and  you  ought  to  feel,  what  a  terrible  addition  the  fear 
of  hearing  you  are  indisposed,  and  chilled  by  the  piercing  air 

*  Elizabeth  Hamilton,  lady  of  the  bed-chamber  to  Queen  Maria 
Theresa,  of  Austria. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  183 

of  Grignan,  makes  to  this  apprehension.  You  are  unjust  if 
you  are  at  a  loss  to  guess  my  sentiments,  which  are  so  very 
natural,  and  so  full  of  true  affection  for  you. 


Paris,  Friday,  January  26,  1680. 

I  begin  with  the  state  of  your  health,  as  the  subject  nearest 
my  heart.  It  is  without  disparagement  to  this  favorite  idea, 
that  I  see  and  hear  what  passes  in  the  world.  Events  are 
more  or  less  interesting  to  me  as  they  are  more  or  less  con- 
nected with  you ;  even  the  attention  I  pay  to  news  springs 
from  the  same  source.  I  find  you  well  nursed,  my  dear  child, 
and  kept  in  cotton.  You  are  not  in  the  whirlwind,  so  that  I 
am  perfectly  easy  with  regard  to  your  quiet ;  but  then  I  am 
by  no  means  so  with  respect  to  that  heaviness,  and  those  heats 
you  are  troubled  with ;  and  then  again  that  pain  you  endure, 
with  no  north-easterly  winds,  or  extraordinary  fatigue  to  oc- 
casion it.  I  could  wish  to  have  a  little  further  information 
on  this  particular,  which  is  of  so  much  importance  to  me. 
The  care  that  is  taken  of  you  can  not  be  wholly  owing  to  pre- 
caution, nor  without  good  reason.  I  wish  you  may  be  sincere 
in  your  resolution,  no  longer  to  destroy  yourself  with  your 
writing-desk.  Confirm  me,  I  beseech  you,  in  my  good  opinion 
of  you,  and  never  again  write  me  such  long  letters,  since 
Montgobert  acquits  herself  so  well  of  the  office ;  and,  as  I  have 
already  told  you,  may  also  save  you  the  trouble  of  dictating. 
I  could  wish,  too,  she  would  now  and  then  add  a  word  or 
two  of  her  own,  relative  to  the  state  of  your  health. 

I  have  at  last  received  a  letter  from  my  son,  who  is  at 
Nantes.  He  was  but  twenty  days  on  the  road ;  he  traveled 
only  ninety  leagues  from  Brittany  in  the  month  of  January,  to 
spend  the  holidays,  and  without  one  spark  of  love  in  his 
heart !  I  have  written  to  him  to  take  care  how  he  tells  this 
story  to  others,  and  that,  to  save  his  reputation,  he  ought  to 

184  LETTERS    TO 

allege  some  flame,  real  or  pretended ;  otherwise  he  would  ap- 
pear more  a  Breton  than  the  Bretons  themselves.  I  have 
also  entreated  him  not  to  stay  at  Nantes,  on  account  of  my 
affairs ;  they  are  not  a  plausible  excuse,  and  I  should  be  sorry 
to  pass  for  so  silly  or  so  covetous  a  being,  as  to  prefer  things 
which  are  of  no  consequence  to  the  necessity  of  his  paying 
his  attendance  at  court  on  such  an  occasion  as  the  present. 
He  seems  to  me  to  be  under  some  embarrassment ;  but  he 
will  return  soon  enough  to  set  out  with  M.  de  Chaulnes. 
Mark  my  goodness,  I  have  secured  him  a  place  in  his  carriage. 
Madame  de  Soubise  is  no  longer  talked  of ;  she  even  seems 
forgotten  already.  In  fact,  there  are  a  thousand  other  things 
to  employ  our  attention  at  present ;  and  I  am  foolish  enough 
myself  to  venture  on  some  other  topic.  For  these  two  days  it 
has  been,  as  in  the  affair  of  mademoiselle  and  M.  de  Lauzun, 
a  constant  bustle,  sending  to  learn  the  news,  paying  visits 
from  house  to  house,  to  learn  what  is  passing ;  curiosity  is 
on  the  stretch,  and  this  is  what  has  come  out,  in  expectation 
of  the  remainder.* 

*  La  Yoisin,  La  Yigoreux,  and  a  priest  of  the  name  of  Le  Sage, 
known  at  Paris  as  conjurers  and  casters  of  nativities,  added  to  this  jug- 
glery the  secret  practice  of  poisons,  which  they  denominated  succession 
powder.  They  did  not  fail  to  accuse  those  who  applied  to  them  for  one 
thing,  of  having  had  recourse  to  them  for  another.  It  is  thus  Marshal 
de  Luxembourg  was  exposed,  by  his  intendant  Bonard,  for  having 
made  some  extravagant  exorcism  with  Le  Sage,  for  the  purpose  of  re- 
covering his  lost  papers.  The  vindictive  Louvois  seized  the  opportunity 
to  ruin,  or,  at  least,  to  torment  him. 

Besides  the  persons  here  named,  Madame  de  Polignac  was  decreed  tc 
be  imprisoned,  and  Madame  de  la  Ferte,  as  well  as  the  Countess  du 
Roure,  to  be  personally  summoned. 

The  Countess  de  Soissons  was  accused  of  having  poisoned  her  hus- 
band; Madame  d'Alluie,  her  father-in-law;  Madame  de  Tingry,  ber 
children ;  Madame  de  Polignac,  a  valet  who  was  in  possession  of  her 
secret ;  and  this  secret  was,  that  she  wished  to  give  the  king  a  charm, 
to  make  herself  beloved  by  him. 

The  king  gave  the  Duchess  de  Foix  a  note,  written  by  her  to  La 
Voisin,  expressed  in  these  terms,  "  The  more  I  rub  the  less  they  pro- 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  185 

M.  de  Luxembourg  was  at  Saint  Germain  on  Wednesday; 
the  king  frowned  on  him  more  than  usual ;  he  was  told  there 
was  a  warrant  issued  to  apprehend  him  ;  he  asked  to  be  per- 
mitted to  speak  to  the  king ;  you  may  conjecture  what  was 
said.  The  king  told  him  that  if  he  were  innocent,  he  had 
nothing  to  do  but  to  throw  himself  voluntarily  into  prison,  and 
that  he  had  appointed  such  upright  judges  to  make  inquiry 
into  affairs  of  this  kind,  that  he  left  every  thing  to  them.  M. 
de  Luxembourg  immediately  took  coach,  and  went  to  Father 
de  la  Chaise  ;  Mesdames  de  Lavardin  and  De  Mouri  met  him 
as  they  were  coming  here,  in  a  very  melancholy  mood,  in  the 
Eue  Saint  Honore  ;  after  passing  an  hour  at  the  convent  of 
the  Jesuits,  he  repaired  to  the  Bastile,  and  delivered  to  Barse- 
meaux*  the  order  he  brought  from  Saint  Germain.  He  was 
at  first  shown  into  a  tolerably  handsome  chamber.  Madame  de 
Meckelbourgf  came  there  to  visit  him,  and  was  almost  drowned 
in  tears.  About  an  hour  after  she  left  him,  an  order  came 
to  confine  him  in  one  of  those  horrible  places  in  the  towers, 
of  which  the  windows  are  closed  with  iron  bars,  so  as  scarcely 
to  admit  the  light  of  day,  and  to  suffer  no  one  to  see  him. 
This,  my  child,  is  ample  subject  for  reflection ;  think  of  the 
brilliant  fortune  of  such  a  man,  raised  to  the  honor  of  com- 
manding in  chief  the  king's  armies,  and  then  figure  to  your 
self  what  his  feelings  must  be  on  hearing  those  grating  bolts 
shut  upon  him,  and,  if  it  were  possible  for  him  to  sleep,  what 
his  thoughts  must  be  when  he  awakes  !  No  one  thinks  there 
has  been  any  poison  in  his  affair.  This  is  a  misfortune  that 
seems  to  obliterate  every  other. 

Madame  de  Tingres  is  summoned  to  give  evidence  on  the 

ject."  He  required  an  explanation.  It  alluded  to  a  recipe  to  increase 
the  size  of  the  bosom.  She  informed  La  Yoisin  that  her  drug  was 
ineffectual . 

It  may  be  supposed  that  La  Yoisin  had  many  of  these  secrets  for  the 
use  of  ladies.  * 

*  Governor  of  the  Bastile. 

f  Sister  of  M.  de  Luxembourg,  formerly  Madame  de  Chatillon. 

186  LETTERS    TO 

trial.  The  Countess  de  Soissons  could  not  endure  the  thoughts 
of  a  prison  ;  she  has  been  allowed  time  to  make  her  escape,  if 
she  really  is  guilty.  She  was  playing  at  basset  on  the 
Wednesday  when  M.  de  Bouillon  came  in ;  he  begged  her  to 
step  with  him  into  the  closet,  where  he  told  her  she  must  either 
leave  Fiance,  or  go  to  the  Bastile  ;  she  was  not  long  in  deter- 
mining what  to  do.  She  immediately  called  the  Marchioness 
d' Allure  from  the  card-table,  and  they  have  never  appeared 
since.  When  the  hour  of  supper  came,  they  were  told  the 
Countess  supped  in  town ;  the  whole  company  broke  up, 
thinking  something  very  extraordinary  had  happened.  In  the 
mean  time,  parcels  are  packed  up,  with  money,  jewels,  etc., 
the  male  servants  have  gray  liveries,  and  eight  horses  are  put 
to  the  carriage.  She  made  the  Marchioness  d' Allure,  who  they 
say  was  unwilling  to  go,  sit  behind,  on  the  same  side  with  her, 
and  two  female  servants  in  the  front.  She  told  her  people 
not  to  be  uneasy  on  her  account,  that  she  was  innocent,  but 
that  some  vile  women*  had  taken  pleasure  in  implicating  her ; 
she  wept,  called  on  Madame  de  Carignan,  and  left  Paris  at 
three  in  the  morning.  It  is  said  she  is  gone  to  Namur;  you 
may  be  sure  nobody  wants  to  follow  her.  She  will,  notwith- 
standing, be  tried  in  her  absence,  if  it  be  only  to  clear  her 
reputation  to  the  world ;  there  is  a  great  deal  of  detraction  in 
what  La  Voisin  says.  It  is  believed  the  Duke  de  Villeroyf  is 
very  much  concerned  at  it ;  he  keeps  his  room,  and  sees  no- 
body. Perhaps  I  may  be  able  to  tell  you  more  before  I  seal 
my  letter. 

Madame  de  Vibraye  has  fallen  into  the  old  train  of  devo- 
tion ;  God,  as  you  well  remarked,  would  not  suffer  her  to  pass 
her  whole  life  in  the  company  of  her  enemies.  Madame  de 
Buri  turns  her  talking-mill  with  very  great  address.  If  the 
princess  is  to  be  seen  at  Paris,  Madame  de  Vins  wishes  me  to 

*  La  Yoisin  and  her  associates  in  their  witchcrafts,  etc. 
f  Francis  Neuville,  afterward  Marshal  of  France.     He  had  been  the 
lover,  and  was  the  intimate  friend,  of  the  Countess  de  Soissons. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  187 

accompany  her  when  she  goes  there.  Pomenars  has  been  cut 
for  the  stone  ;  did  I  not  tell  you  so  ?  I  have  seen  him ;  it  is 
pleasant  to  hear  him  talk  of  the  poisons  ;  one  is  almost  tempted 
to  say  to  him,  "  Is  it  possible  this  crime  alone  should  be  un- 
known to  you  ?"  Volonne  gives  his  opinion,  without  any  hesi- 
tation, and  wonders  how  any  one  could  hold  a  correspondence 
with  these  vile  women.  The  Queen  of  Spain  is,  in  a  manner,  as 
much  confined  as  M.  de  Luxembourg.  Madame  de  Villars 
wrote  to  Madame  de  Coulanges  the  other  day,  that  were  it  not 
for  her  love  to  M.  de  Villars,  she  would  not  have  consented  to 
pass  the  winter  at  Madrid.  She  gives  Madame  de  Coulanges 
many  pleasant  and  entertaining  narratives,  as  she  thinks  they 
will  go  further.*  I  am  overjoyed  to  have  the  pleasure  of  pe- 
rusing her  letters,  without  the  trouble  of  answering  them. 
Madame  de  Vins  thinks  as  I  do.  M.  de  Pomponne  is  gone  to 
breathe  the  air  of  Pomponne,  where  he  means  to  stay  three 
days ;  he  has  received  all,  and  given  up  all ;  so  that  affair  is 
finished.  It  really  pains  me  to  hear  him  always  asking,  "What 
news  ?  He  is  as  much  a  stranger  to  what  is  passing  as  one 
living  on  the  banks  of  the  Marne ;  he  is  in  the  right  to  make 
his  mind  as  happy  as  he  can.  Mine,  as  well  as  the  abbe's, 
was  much  affected  at  what  you  wrote  with  your  own  hand ; 
you  did  not  feel  it,  my  dear  child,  but  it  was  impossible  to 
read  it  without  tears.  Good  heavens  !  you  pronounce  your- 
self as  good  for  nothing,  as  an  encumbrance  to  the  earth ;  to 
one  who  sees  no  object  in  existence  but  you !  Think  of  the 
consequences  your  talking  thus  may  produce.  I  beseech  you, 
never  henceforth  to  say  any  ill  of  your  humor.  Your  heart 
and  mind  are  too  perfect  to  suffer  such  light  clouds  to  be  per- 
ceived ;  be  a  little  more  tender  of  truth  and  justice,  as  well  as 
of  the  sole  object  of  my  vows  and  prayers,  I  shall  think  my- 
self really  dead  till  I  have  the  gratification  of  seeing  you. 

*  Madame  de  Coulanges,  passing  her  life  at  court,  with  Madame  de 
Maintenon,  and  even  with  Mademoiselle  de  Fontanges,  could  easily  re- 
port these  agreeable  narratives  to  the  king. 

188  LETTERS    TO 


Paris,  Wednesday,  January  31,  1680. 

It  is  impossible  for  me  to  see  your  hand- writing  without 
emotion.  I  well  know  the  injury  writing  does  you ;  and 
though  you  say  the  most  affectionate  and  most  amiable  things 
to  me  possible,  I  regret  exceedingly  the  purchase  of  that  pleas- 
ure at  the  expense  of  your  lungs ;  I  know  you  are  still  far 
from  well.  You  tell  me  the  weather  is  extremely  mild,  and 
that  you  do  not  fatigue  yourself,  and  that  you  write  less  than 
usual :  whence,  then,  proceeds  this  obstinacy  in  your  disorder  ? 
You  are  dumb  on  that  subject,  and  Montgobert  has  the  cru- 
elty, though  she  has  the  pen  in  her  hand,  not  to  say  a  single 
word  about  it.  What  is  the  rest  of  the  world  to  me,  and 
what  pleasure  can  I  receive  from  the  account  of  all  the  re- 
joicings at  Aix,  when  I  find  you  are  obliged  to  go  to  bed  at 
eight  in  the  evening  ?  "  But,"  say  you,  "  do  you  then  wish 
me  to  sit  up  late  and  fatigue  myself  ?"  No,  my  dearest ;  God 
forbid  I  should  be  capable  of  forming  so  depraved  a  wish ; 
but  when  you  were  here,  you  were  not  wholly  incapable  of 
relishing  the  sweets  of  society.  I  have  at  length  seen  M.  de 
Gordes ;  he  told  me,  with  great  sincerity,  that  you  were  in  a 
very  feeble  state  in  the  boat,  and  that  you  were  much  better 
at  Aix  :  but  then,  with  the  same  simplicity  he  assures  me, 
that  the  air  of  Provence  is  too  keen,  too  piercing,  and  too  dry- 
ing, in  your  present  condition.  When  we  are  in  health,  nothing 
is  amiss  ;  but  when  the  lungs  are  attacked,  and  we  are  thin  and 
delicate,  like  you,  we  run  the  risk  of  putting  it  out  of  our 
power  ever  to  recover.  Tell  me  no  more  that  the  delicacy  of 
your  lungs  draws  our  ages  nearer  together.  God  forbid  that 
the  order  established  by  Providence,  so  agreeable  to  nature 
and  reason,  and  at  the  same  time  so  dear  to  me,  should  be  de- 
ranged with  respect  to  us. 

I  must  resume  the  article  of  news,  which  I  always  suffer  to 
rest  awhile  when  I  get  upon  the  subject  of  your  health.  M. 
de  Luxembourg  has  been  two  days  without  eating ;  he  asked 

MADAME    DE     GRI&NAN,  189 

for  several  Jesuits,  but  has  been  refused  every  one  of  them : 
he  asked  to  have  the  Lives  of  the  Saints,  and  it  has  been  given 
him ;  you  will  see  he  is  at  a  loss  to  which  of  the  Saints  he 
shall  devote  himself.  He  was  interrogated  for  four  hours  on 
Friday  or  Saturday,  I  can  not  recollect  which  ;  after  that  his 
mind  appeared  much  relieved,  and  he  ate  some  supper.  It  is 
thought  he  would  have  done  better  to  have  made  his  inno- 
cence take  the  field,  and  to  have  left  word  he  would  return, 
when  his  proper  judges*  should  think  fit  to  summon  him.  He 
has  done  a  real  injury  to  the  dukedom,  in  acknowledgmg  the 
chamber  ;  but  he  was  willing  to  yield  a  blind  obedience  to  the 
commands  of  his  majesty.  M.  de  Cessac  has  followed  the  ex- 
ample of  the  countess.  Mesdames  de  Bouillon  and  De  Tingry 
were  interrogated  on  Monday  at  the  chamber  of  the  arsenal. 
Their  noble  families  attended  them  to  the  gate  :  there  is  yet 
no  appearance  of  blackness  in  the  follies  which  have  been  laid 
to  their  charge,  nor  even  so  much  as  a  shade  of  gray.  Should 
nothing  further  be  discovered,  this  is  a  scandal  which  might 
very  well  have  been  spared,  especially  to  families  of  their 
high  quality.  Marshal  de  Villeroyf  says,  these  gentlemen 
and  ladies  do  not  believe  in  God,  though  they  believe  in  the 
devil.  In  reality,  a  great  many  ridiculous  things  are  related 
respecting  the  private  transactions  of  these  abominable  wo- 
men. Madame  de  la  Ferte,  who  is  so  properly  named,  went 
out  of  complaisance  (to  La  Voisin's)  with  the  Countess  (de 
Soissons),  but  did  not  go  up  stairs ;  M.  de  Langres  accompa- 
nied Madame  de  la  Ferte ;  this  is  very  black ;  the  circum- 
stance has  given  her  a  pleasure  not  often  enjoyed  by  her, 
which  is,  to  hear  it  said  that  she  is  innocent.J  The  Duchess 
de  Bouillon  went  to  ask  La  Voisin  for  a  small  dose  of  poison, 
to  kill  an  old  tiresome  husband  she  had,  and  a  nostrum  to 

*  The  parliament  of  Paris. 

f  Nicholas  de  Neufville,  Marshal  Duke  de  Yilleroy,  father  to  the  last 
marshal  of  that  name. 

X  The  Amours  des  Gaules  have  rendered  notorious  her  gallantries, 
which  may  be  called  by  a  term  less  mild. 

190  LETTERS    TO 

marry  a  young  man  she  loved.  This  young  man  was  M.  de 
Vendome,  who  led  her  by  one  hand,  and  M.  de  Bouillon,  her 
husband,  by  the  other.  When  a  Mancine*  is  guilty  only  of 
a  folly  like  this,  information  is  given  of  it ;  and  these  witches 
explain  it  seriously,  and  shock  all  Europe  with  a  mere  trifle. 
The  Countess  de  Soissons  asked  whether  she  could  not  recover  a 
lover  who  had  deserted  her  ?  this  lover  was  a  great  prince  ; 
and  it  is  asserted  that  she  declared,  unless  he  returned  to  her, 
she  would  make  him  repent  his  ingratitude  :  that  is  under- 
stood to  be  the  king,  and  every  thing  is  of  importance  that 
has  relation  to  him  ;  but  let  us  look  to  the  sequel ;  if  she  has 
committed  any  greater  crime,  she  has  not  mentioned  it  to 
these  baggages.  One  of  our  friends  says  there  is  an  elder 
branch  of  the  poison,  to  which  they  never  refer,  as  it  is  not  a 
native  of  France.  What  we  have  here,  are  younger  branches 
only,  without  shoes  to  their  feet.  La  T***  f  gives  us  to  un- 
derstand there  is  something  of  greater  consequence  behind, 
as  she  was  schoolmistress  to  the  novices.  She  says,  "  I  ad- 
mire the  world ;  it  really  believes  I  have  had  children  by  M. 
de  Luxembourg."  Alas !  God  knows  whether  she  has  or  not ; 
the  present  prevailing  opinion,  however,  is  in  favor  of  the  in- 
nocence of  the  persons  denounced,  and  a  universal  horror  for 
the  defamers ;  to-morrow  it  may  be  the  reverse.  You  well 
know  the  nature  of  these  general  opinions  ;  I  shall  give  you  a 
faithful  account  of  them  ;  it  is  the  only  subject  of  conversa- 
tion here  :  indeed  there  is  scarcely  an  example  of  such  scan- 
dal in  any  court  in  Christendom.  It  is  said  La  Voisin  put  all 
the  infants,  whose  abortion  she  had  procured,  into  an  oven  • 
and  Madame  de  Coulanges,  as  you  may  suppose,  when  speak- 
ing of  La  T***,  says,  it  was  for  her  the  oven  was  heating. 
I  had  a  long  chat  yesterday  with  M.  de  la  Eochefoucault, 

*  Madame  de  Bouillon,  as  well  as  the  Countess  de  Soissons,  was  the 
niece  of  Cardinal  Mazarin.     It  will  be  seen  that  she  was  innocent. 

f  Madame  de  Tingry  being  named  twice  in  this  letter  and  the  pre- 
ceding one,  is  it  not  probable  that  she  is  intended  by  the  initial  T.  ? 
She  was  related  to  M.  de  Luxembourg. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  191 

on  a  subject  we  have  already  discussed.  There  is  nothing  to 
oblige  you  to  write  ;  but  he  entreats  you  to  believe  that  what 
could  give  him  the  highest  gratification  in  the  world  would 
be  to  have  it  in  his  power  to  contribute  to  your  changing 
the  place  of  your  residence,  should  an  opportunity  offer.  I 
never  saw  so  obliging  or  so  amiable  a  man. 

What  I  am  going  to  tell  you,  I  have  heard  from  good  au- 
thority. Madame  de  Bouillon  entered  the  chamber  like  a 
queen,  sat  down  on  a  chair  placed  there  on  purpose  for  her, 
and,  instead  of  answering  to  the  first  question  that  was  asked 
her,  demanded  that  what  she  should  say  might  be  taken  down 
in  writing ;  it  was,  "that  her  sole  reason  for  coming  there  was 
from  the  respect  she  bore  to  the  king's  command,  and  not  in 
obedience  to  the  chamber,  whose  authority  she  in  nowise 
acknowledged,  as  she  would  not  derogate  from  the  privileges 
of  the  dukedom."  Every  word  was  written  down.  When  she 
took  oft*  her  glove,  she  discovered  a  very  beautiful  hand.  Her 
answers  were  very  sincere ;  those  respecting  her  age  not  ex- 
cepted. "  Do  you  know  La  Vigoureux  ?"  "  ISTo."  "  Do  you 
know  La  Voisin  ?"  "  Yes."  u  What  reason  had  you  to  de- 
sire the  death  of  your  husband  ?"  "  Desire  the  death  of  my 
husband !  ask  him  whether  he  believes  a  syllable  of  it.  He 
gave  me  his  hand  to  the  very  gate."  "  But  what  was  your 
reason  for  so  often  visiting  La  Voisin  ?"  "  Because  I  wanted 
to  see  those  Sibyls  she  promised  me  I  should  see ;  a  company 
which  certainly  well  deserved  all  this  noise  and  scrutiny." 
"  Did  you  not  show  that  woman  a  bag  of  money  ?"  She  an- 
swered, "  I  did  not,  and  for  more  reasons  than  one  ;"  and  then 
with  a  smiling,  and  at  the  same  time  a  disdainful  air,  "  Well, 
gentlemen,  have  you  done  with  me  ?"  "  Yes,  madame."  She 
rose,  and,  as  she  was  going  out,  said  loud  enough  to  be  heard? 
u  I  really  could  not  have  believed  that  men  of  sense  would 
have  asked  so  many  foolish  questions."  She  was  received  by 
all  her  friends  and  relations  with  adoration,  she  was  so  pretty, 
easy,  natural,  firm,  unconcerned,  and  tranquil.* 

*  To  render  this  picture  complete,  it  is  necessary  to  cite  another 

192  LETTERS    TO 

La  T***  was  by  no  means  so  cheerful.  M.  de  Luxembourg 
is  perfectly  disconcerted  :  he  is  neither  a  man,  nor  half  a  man, 
nor  even  a  woman,  unless  it  be  a  foolish  woman.  "  Shut  this 
window ;  light  a  fire  ;  give  me  some  chocolate  ;  give  me  that 
book ;  I  have  abandoned  God,  and  God  has  abandoned  me." 
This  is  the  conduct  he  displayed  before  Baisemeaux  and  his 
commissaries,  with  a  countenance  pale  as  death.  With  noth- 
ing better  than  this  to  carry  to  the  Bastile,  he  had  better  have 
gained  time,  as  the  king,  with  infinite  goodness,  had  put  into 
his  power  to  do,  till  the  very  moment  before  he  committed 
himself;  but  we  must  of  necessity  have  recourse  to  Providence, 
in  spite  of  our  efforts  to  the  contrary.  It  was  by  no  means 
natural  to  behave  as  he  has  done,  weak  as  he  appears  to  be.* 
I  was  misinformed  :  Madame  de  Meckelbourg  has  not  seen 
him ;  and  La  T***,  who  came  with  him  from  St.  Germain, 
never  intended,  any  more  than  himself,  to  give  Madame  de 
Meckelbourg  the  least  notice  of  it,  though  he  had  time  enough 
to  have  done  it  if  he  had  been  so  inclined ;  but  La  T***  kept 
every  one  from  seeing  him,  and  watched  him  so  closely,  that 
not  a  soul  came  to  him  but  herself.  I  have  been  to  see  this 
Meckelbourg  at  the  nunnery  of  the  Holy  Sacrament,  where  she 
has  retired.  She  is  in  great  affliction,  and  complains  loudly 
of  La  T***,  whom  she  blames  for  all  her  brother's  misfor- 
tunes. I  made  your  compliments  to  her  by  way  of  anticipation, 
and  assured  her  you  would  be  extremely  grieved  to  hear  of 

stroke  related  by  Yoltaire.  "  La  Reynie,  one  of  the  presidents  of  this 
chamber,  was  so  ill-advised  as  to  ask  the  Duchess  de  Bouillon  if  she 
had  seen  the  devil.  She  replied  that  she  saw  him  at  that  moment ; 
that  he  was  very  ugly,  and  very  dirty,  and  was  disguised  as  a  coun- 
selor of  state.     The  questioner  proceeded  no  further. 

*  Madame  de  Sevigne  seems  to  have  adopted,  at  this  moment,  the 
ridiculous  reports  spread  abroad,  in  regard  to  M.  de  Luxembourg.  But 
is  it  to  be  credited  that  a  soul  like  his  was  capable  of  such  weakness 
as  was  laid  to  his  charge  ?  And  does  it  not  rather  exhibit  the  common 
conduct  of  envy  and  malignity,  which,  in  the  life-time  of  men  of  the 
first  order,  are  incessantly  endeavoring  to  tarnish  the  luster  of  their 
reputation  ? 

MADAME     DE     GRIGNAN.  193 

her  ill-fortune.  She  expressed  great  regard  for  you.  One 
might,  at  this  time,  do  almost  what  one  pleased  at  Paris,  it 
would  not  be  noticed. 


Paris,  Wednesday,  February  T,  1680. 

So,  my  child,  you  sometimes  play  at  chess.  For  my  own  part, 
I  am  an  enthusiast  in  this  game,  and  would  give  the  world  if 
I  could  learn  to  play  it  like  my  son  or  you.  It  is  the  finest 
and  most  rational  game  of  any  ;  chance  has  nothing  to  do  with 
it ;  we  blame  or  applaud  ourselves,  and  our  success  depends 
upon  our  skill.  Corbinelli  would  fain  make  me  believe  I  shall 
acquire  it.  He  says  I  have  some  ideas  and  schemes  of  my 
own ;  but  I  can  not  see  three  or  four  moves  forward  into  the 
game.  I  assure  you  I  shall  be  much  ashamed  and  mortified 
if  I  do  not,  at  least,  attain  mediocrity.  Every  one  played  it  at 
Pomponne  when  I  was  last  there — men,  women,  and  children ; 
and  while  the  master  of  the  house  was  beating  M.  de  Chaulnes, 
he  met  with  a  strange  check  at  St.  Germain. 

There  has  been  a  sad  melancholy  Monday,  which  you  will 
easily  comprehend.  M.  de  Pomponne  is  at  length  gone  to 
court.  He  dreaded  this  very  much.  You  may  guess  what 
his  thoughts  were  on  the"  road,  and  when  he  beheld  the  court 
at  Saint  Germain,  and  received  the  compliments  of  the  court- 
iers who  surrounded  him.  He  was  quite  overcome ;  and 
when  he  entered  the  chamber  where  the  king  was  waiting  for 
him,  what  could  he  say,  or  how  begin  ?  The  king  assured 
him  he  had  always  been  satisfied  of  his  fidelity  and  services  ; 
that  he  was  perfectly  at  ease  as  to  the  state  secrets  he  was  ac- 
quainted with  ;  and  that  he  would  give  him  and  his  family 
proofs  of  his  regard.  M.  de  Pomponne  could  not  help  shed- 
ding tears  when  he  mentioned  the  misfortune  he  had  to  incur 
his  displeasure.     He  added,  that  with  respect  to  his  family,  he 

left  it  entirely  to  his  majesty's  goodness ;  that  his  only  grief 


194  LETTERS    TO 

was  the  being  removed  from  the  service  of  a  master  to  whom 
he  was  attached,  as  well  by  inclination  as  duty  ;  that  it  was 
next  to  impossible  not  to  feel  so  heavy  a  loss  in  all  its  severity ; 
that  this  cut  him  to  the  quick,  and  caused  him  to  betray  those 
marks  of  weakness,  which  he  hoped  his  majesty  would  forgive. 
The  king  told  him  he  was  himself  affected  at  them,  that  they 
proceeded  from  goodness  of  heart,  and  that  he  ought  not  to 
be  offended.  The  whole  discourse  turned  on  this,  and  M.  de 
Pomponne  came  away  with  eyes  somewhat  red,  and  the  looks 
of  a  man  who  had  not  merited  his  misfortune.  He  told  me 
all  this  yesterday  evening  :  he  could  have  wished  to  have  been 
more  firm,  but  he  could  not  get  the  better  of  his  emotion. 
This  is  the  only  occasion  in  which  he  has  appeared  too  much 
affected  ;  though  it  might  be  said  he  had  not  paid  his  court 
badly,  if  to  pay  court  had  been  his  object.  He  will  soon  re- 
cover his  philosophy,  and  in  the  mean  time  an  affair  of  some 
importance  is  concluded ;  these  are  renewals  which  we  can  not 
help  feeling  with  him.  Madame  de  Vins  has  been  at  Saint 
Germain  :  good  God,  what  a  difference !  She  had  attentions 
enough  paid  her  ;  but  to  reflect  that  that  had  been  her  home, 
where  she  has  not  now  a  corner  to  shelter  her  head  in !  I  felt 
what  she  underwent  in  that  journey.  Adieu,  my  beloved 
child ;  I  am  always  impatient  to  hear  from  you,  but  pray  write 
only  two  words  to  me ;  renounce  long  letters  forever,  and 
spare  me.  It  is  horrible  to  think  that  those  who  love  you,  and 
who  are  beloved  by  you,  should  be  the  ruin  of  your  health. 


Paris,  Friday,  Feb.  9,  1680. 
I  see  you  are  in  the  midst  of  the  pleasures  of  the  carnival, 
my  beautiful  dear ;  you  give  little  private  suppers  to  eighteen 
or  twenty  ladies ;  I  am  well  acquainted  with  your  mode  of 
life,  and  the  heavy  expenses  you  incur  at  Aix  ;  but  yet,  amid 
all  this  bustle,  I  fancy  you  contrive  to  have  plenty  of  rest. 

MADAME     DE     GRIGNAN.  195 

We  say  sometimes,  I  will  have  pleasure  for  my  money ;  but  I 
think  I  hear  you  say,  I  will  have  rest  for  mine  :  take  your  rest 
then,  and  enjoy,  at  least,  this  advantage.  I  can  not  help  being 
surprised  that  a  minuet-tune  does  not  tempt  you  sometimes ; 
what !  not  a  single  step  !  no  motion  of  the  shoulders !  quite 
insensible !  it  is  not  to  be  believed,  it  is  unnatural ;  I  never 
yet  knew  you  sit  still  on  these  occasions,  and,  were  I  to  draw 
such  inferences  as  I  commonly  do,  I  should  imagine  you  much 
worse  than  you  say  you  are. 

There  was,  yesterday  evening,  an  enchanting  entertainment 
at  the  Hotel  de  Conde.  The  Princess  of  Conti  named  one  of 
the  duke's  daughters,  with  the  Prince  de  la  Roche-sur-Yon. 
First  was  the  christening,  then  the  dinner  ;  but  what  a  dinner ! 
then  a  play,  but  what  a  play !  interspersed  with  fine  pieces  of 
music,  and  the  best  opera-dancers.  A  theater  built  by  the 
fairies ;  such  perspectives,  orange-trees  loaded  with  fruits  and 
flowers,  festoons,  pilasters,  scenes,  and  other  decorations ;  in 
short,  the  whole  expense  of  the  evening  cost  no  less  than  two 
thousand  louis-d'ors,  all  for  the  sake  of  the  pretty  princess. 

The  opera  (of  Proserpine)  is  superior  to  every  other.  The 
chevalier  tells  me  he  has  sent  you  several  of  the  airs,  and  that 
he  saw  a  gentleman*  who  said  he  had  sent  you  the  words  ;  I 
dare  say  you  will  like  it.  There  is  a  scene  in  it,f  between 
Mercury  and  Ceres,  which  requires  no  interpreter  to  be  under- 
stood ;  it  must  have  been  approved,  since  it  has  been  per- 
formed ;  but  you  will  judge  for  yourself. 

The  poisoning  affair  is  grown  quite  flat ;  nothing  new  is  said 
of  it.  The  report  is,  that  there  will  be  no  more  blood  spilled  ; 
you  will  make  your  own  reflections,  as  we  do.  The  Abbe 
Colbert  is  made  Coadjutor  of  Rouen.  They  talk  of  a  jour- 
ney into  Flanders.  No  one  knows  what  this  assembling  of 
the  forces  portends. 

Friar  Ange  has  raised  Marshal  de  Bellefond  from  the  dead; 
he  has   cured  his  lungs,  that  were  incurable.     Madame  do 

*  Quinault.  f  See  the  second  scene  of  tl  e  first  act. 

196  LETTERS    TO 

Coulanges  and  I  have  been  to  visit  the  grand-master,*  who 
has  been  almost  at  death's  door  for  a  fortnight  past ;  his  gout 
had  returned ;  add  to  this  an  oppression,  which  made  every 
one  suppose  he  was  at  his  last  gasp  ;  cold  sweats,  lighthead- 
edness ;  in  short,  he  was  ill  as  it  was  possible  to  be.  The 
physicians  could  give  him  no  relief ;  he  sent  for  Friar  Ange, 
who  has  cured  him,  and  brought  him  from  the  very  gates  of 
death,  by  the  gentlest  and  most  agreeable  medicines ;  the  op* 
pression  went  off,  the  gout  fell  back  into  his  knees  and  feet, 
and  he  is  now  out  of  danger. 

Adieu,  my  dear  child !  I  still  lead  the  same  life,  either  in 
the  suburbs,  or  with  these  good  widows ;  sometimes  here, 
sometimes  eating  chicken  with  Madame  de  Coulanges;  but 
always  pleased  to  think  I  am  gliding  down  the  stream  with 
old  Time,  and  hastening  the  happy  moment  when  I  shall  see 
you  again. 


Paris,  Wednesday,  Feb.  14,  1680. 

I  think  you  extremely  fortunate  in  the  society  of  Madame 
du  Janet,  who  is  come  on  purpose  for  you  ;  this  is  a  friend- 
ship that  pleases  me.  I  am  fully  persuaded  her  whole  employ- 
ment will  be  to  take  care  of  your  health  ;  pray  embrace  her  for 
me.  You  give  yourself  very  little  concern  about  the  vanities 
of  this  world  ;  I  think  I  see  you  constantly  retiring  and  going 
to  bed,  leaving  the  rest  to  sing  and  dance  by  themselves  ;  you 
will  have  rest  for  your  money,  as  I  told  you  the  other  day. 

Montgobert  has  related  to  me,  very  pleasantly,  the  maneu- 
vers of  the  beautiful  Iris,  and  the  jealousy  of  the  count ;  I  dare 
say  he  will  often  see  the  moon  with  this  beauty  ;  he  has  re- 
venged himself  for  this  time,  by  a  very  pretty  song.  Montgo- 
bert made  me  laugh  at  her  respect  for  M.  de  Grignan.  She 
had  written,  that  he  came  to  the  ball  la  gueule  enfarinee  (full 

*  The  Duke  de  Lude. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  197 

of  expectation)  :  she  recollected  herself,  erased  the  gueule,  and 
wrote  the  bouche,  so  that  it  is  now  la  bouche  enfarinee. 

The  gendarmes  are  quite  bewildered.  My  son  goes  to  Flan- 
ders, instead  of  meeting  the  dauphiness.  The  army  is  assem- 
bling, they  say,  to  take  Charlemont.*  We  know  nothing  cer- 
tain, except  that  the  officers  are  going  to  the  army,  and  that 
in  a  month  there  will  be  an  army  of  fifty  thousand  infantry. 
The  chevalier's  regiment  is  not  one  of  them. 

The  chamber  of  the  arsenal  is  again  sitting.  One  of  the 
committee,  whose  name  is  not  mentioned,  said  to  M.  de  la 
Reynie  :  u  But,  sir,  as  far  as  I  see,  we  are  only  employed  about 
sorceries  and  witchcraft,  such  diabolical  proceedings,  of  which 
the  parliament  of  Paris  never  takes  cognizance.  Our  com- 
mission is,  to  try  the  case  of  poisoning  ;  how  comes  it  that  we 
inquire  into  any  thing  else  ?"  La  Reynie  was  surprised,  and 
said,  "  Sir,  we  have  secret  orders."  "  Be  so  good,  sir,"  replied 
the  other,  "as  to  communicate  those  orders  to  us,  and  we  will 
obey  them  as  well  as  you  ;  but,  as  we  are  without  your  knowl- 
edge, I  think  I  say  nothing  contrary  to  reason  and  justice,  in 
thus  expressing  myself."  I  am  of  opinion  you  will  not  blame 
this  man's  honesty,  though  he  does  not  wish  to  be  known. 
There  are  so  many,  persons  of  worth  belonging  to  this  cham- 
ber, that  you  will  find  it  difficult  to  guess  who  he  is. 

*  One  of  the  conditions  of  the  treaty  with  Spain  was,  that  France, 
with  other  places  that  were  given  up  to  her,  should  have  either  Dinanl 
or  Charlemont.  But  the  emperor,  whose  consent  was  necessary,  hav- 
ing preferred  keeping  Dinant,  France  was  put  in  possession  of  Charle- 
mont. There  was  only  a  military  demonstration.  It  was  upon  this 
acquisition  of  Charlemont,  M.  de  Coulanges  wrote  some  verses  ending 


Louis  est  un  enfant  gate ; 

On  lui  laisse  tout  faire. 

"  Louis  is  a  spoiled  child ;  he  is  suffered  to  do  what  he  pleases." 

This  complaisance  throughout  Europe  cost  dear  to  France.  The 
king,  habituated  thus  to  have  his  own  way,  adopted  three  fatal  resolu- 
tions :  he  revoked  the  Edict  of  Nantes,  protected  James  II.,  and  ac- 
cepted the  testament  of  the  King  of  Spain. 

198  LETTERS     TO 

The  little  Prince  de  Leon  was  baptized  yesterday  at  Saint 
Gervais,  by  a  bishop  of  Brittany ;  M.  de  Rennes  stood  god- 
father, as  representing  the  States  of  Brittany ;  the  duchess  was 
godmother.  The  rest  were  all  Brittany  folks  :  the  Governor 
of  Brittany,  the  Lieutenant-General  of  Brittany,  the  Treasurer 
of  Brittany,  the  Deputies  of  Brittany,  several  Lords  of  Brit- 
tany, the  Presidents  of  Brittany,  father  and  son.  In  short, 
had  there  been  a  dance,  they  would  have  danced  Brittany 
dances ;  and  have  eaten  Brittany  butter,  had  it  been  a  meager 
day.  I  assure  you,  my  son  feels  all  the  secret  power  which 
attaches  the  Bretons  to  their  country  ;  he  is  returned  perfectly 
enchanted  with  it.  He  has  begun,  for  the  first  time  in  his 
life,  to  admire  Tonquedec,  and  to  think  him  worthy  of  imita- 
tion. It  would  be  like  stopping  the  course  of  the  Rhone,  to 
oppose  this  torrent,  which  carries  him  so  far  as  even  to  dis- 
pose him  to  sell  his  place.  He  said  this  to  Gourville  and 
several  others,  before  he  mentioned  it  to  me.  He  assigns  very 
good  reasons.  He  looks  forward.  He  fears  the  disgusts  which 
may  be  occasioned  by  means  of  M.  de  la  Trousse.  He  is  sorry 
for  those  who  are  appointed  to  the  gendarmerie,  and  has  no 
wish  to  be  ruined.  The  sum  of  the  matter  is,  that  by  thus 
discovering  his  inmost  heart,  he  would  reduce  us  to  the  ne- 
cessity of  saying,  "  Certainly,  he  is  perfectly  in  the  right  to  sell 
his  place."  I  can  not  reproach  myself  with  concealing  what 
my  duty  obliged  me  to  say  on  this  strange  resolution,  in  which 
I  expressed  myself  with  the  freedom  I  sometimes  indulge  my- 
self in.  I  desired  him  to  wait  for  at  least  some  pretext,  some 
shadow  of  dissatisfaction ;  in  short,  to  stay  for  something  that 
may  serve  to  keep  his  real  thoughts  undiscovered.  But  it  was 
to  no  purpose  ;  for  all  M.  de  la  Garde  and  I  have  been  able  to 
do,  is  to  beg  he  will  not  interfere.  We  are  overjoyed  at  his 
absence,  as  it  may  be  a  means  of  preventing  his  doing  injury 
to  his  affairs,  by  decrying  his  own  goods.  I  told  him  it  was 
very  unfortunate  to  value  commissions  merely  from  whim  and 
caprice,  by  his  liking  and  disliking ;  to  pay  an  exorbitant  price 
for  the  ensigncy,  because  he  was  wild  for  it — to  rate  the  sub- 

MADAME    DE     6RIGNAN  199 

lieutenancy  at  nothing,  because  he  is  disgusted  with  it.  Is  it 
thus  we  would  buy  and  sell,  unless  we  were  fools,  ignorant  of 
business,  and  wished  to  ruin  ourselves  ?  Adieu,  my  beloved 
child ;  be  not  uneasy  on  this  account.  Let  us  adore  the  dis- 
pensations of  Providence,  whose  kindness  sends  us  no  greater 
subject  of  complaint.  I  shall  still  possess  my  mind  in  liberty, 
for  I  shall  still  be  as  much  yours  as  ever.  This  will  make  no 
change  in  me ;  quite  the  contrary,  quite  the  contrary. 


Paris,  Friday,  February  23,  1680. 
Indeed,  my  child,  this  has  been  a  very  pretty  week  for  the 
Grignans  ;  should  Providence  favor  the  elder  brother  in  pro- 
portion as  it  has  the  younger,  we  might  soon  expect  to  see 
him  in  a  charming  situation.  In  the  mean  time,  I  think  it  no 
disagreeable  thing  to  have  brothers  in  such  favor.  The 
chevalier  had  scarcely  returned  thanks  for  his  pension  of  a 
thousand  crowns,  when  he  was  chosen,  out  of  eight  or  ten  per- 
sons of  quality  and  merit,  to  be  an  attendant  upon  the 
dauphin,  with  a  salary  of  two  thousand  crowns  ;  so  here  are 
appointments  to  the  value  of  nine  thousand  livres  a  year,  in 
the  space  of  three  days.  He  immediately  went  back  to  Saint 
Germain  with  his  second  acknowledgments,  for  it  seems  he 
had  been  appointed  in  his  absence,  while  he  was  here  in  Paris. 
His  personal  merit  has  greatly  contributed  to  this  choice. 
His  distinguished  reputation,  his  strict  honor  and  probity,  and 
the  regularity  of  his  conduct,  have  been  remarked ;  and  it  is 
the  general  opinion,  that  his  majesty  could  not  have  made  a 
better  choice.  There  are  but  eight  persons  named  yet,  Dan- 
geau,  D'Antin,  Clermont,  Sainte-Maure,  Matignon,  Chiverni, 
Florensac,  and  Grignan.*     The  last  is  universally  approved. 

*  These  were  afterward  reduced  to  six,  viz.,  MM.  Dangeau,  D'An- 
tin, Saint-Maure,  Chiverni,  Florensac,  and  G-rignan. 

200  LETTERS     TO 

Permit  me,  then,  to  pay  my  compliments  of  congratulation  to 
M.  de  Grignan,  the  coadjutor,  and  yourself. 

My  son  sets  out  to-morrow ;  he  has  read  the  reproaches 
you  make  him.  Possibly  the  charms  of  the  court  he  wishes 
to  leave,  and  where  he  has  so  handsome  an  establishment, 
will  make  him  change  his  opinion.  We  have  prevailed  on 
him  not  to  be  in  a  hurry,  but  to  wait  quietly  till  he  meets 
with  the  temptation  of  a  greater  sum  than  he  gave. 

You  have  given  me  a  specimen  of  M.  de  Grignan's  joy  by 
my  own,  in  hearing  that  you  are  better.  As  your  complaints 
are  no  longer  continual,  I  am  in  great  hopes  that,  by  taking 
care  of  yourself,  using  a  milk  diet,  and  giving  up  writing,  you 
will  in  the  end  restore  my  daughter  to  me  as  lovely  as  ever. 

I  am  charmed  with  Montgobert's  sincerity.  Had  she  al- 
ways written  me  word  you  were  well,  I  should  never  have 
given  credit  to  her.  She  has  managed  the  whole  business  to 
a  miracle,  and  has  won  my  heart  by  her  candor ;  so  natural 
is  it  for  us  to  love  not  to  be  deceived.  May  Heaven  preserve 
you,  my  dear,  in  this  prosperous  state !  which  gives  us  all 
such  flattering  hopes.  But  to  return  to  the  Grignans,  for  we 
seem  to  have  forgotten  them.  Nothing  else  is  talked  of  here. 
Nothing  but  complimenting  passes  in  this  house ;  one  has 
scarcely  done  when  another  begins.  I  have  not  seen  either 
of  them  since  the  chevalier  has  been  made  a  lady  of  honor,  as 
M.  de  Rochefoucault  calls  it.  He  will  write  you  all  the  news 
much  better  than  I  can  possibly  do.  It  is  supposed  that  Ma- 
dame de  Soubise  will  not  be  one  of  the  traveling  party.  See 
how  long  my  letter  is  growing !  Well,  I  will  only  mention 
La  Voi sin's  affair,  and  conclude. 

She  was  not  burned  on  Wednesday,  as  I  wrote  you  word ; 
the  sentence  was  not  executed  till  yesterday.  She  knew  her 
fate  on  the  Monday,  a  very  extraordinary  circumstance  !  In 
the  evening,  she  said  to  those  who  guarded  her,  "  What !  no 
medianoches !"  She  ate  with  them  at  midnight  out  of  whim, 
for  it  was  no  fast-day,  drank  plentifully  of  wine,  and  sang  sev- 
eral drinking  songs.     On  Monday  she  received  the  question 

MADAME    DE     GRI6NAN.  201 

ordinary  and  extraordinary.  She  had  now  dined,  and  slept 
nearly  eight  hours.  She  was  confronted  while  under  the  tor- 
ture with  Mesdames  de  Dreux  and  Le  Feron,  and  several  more. 
Her  answers  have  not  yet  transpired,  but  every  one  expects  io 
hear  strange  things.  She  supped  in  the  evening,  and,  lacerated 
and  disjointed  as  she  was,  gave  a  loose  to  her  excess,  to  the 
disgust  of  every  one  present.  They  endeavored  to  make  her 
sensible  of  her  ill  conduct,  and  that  she  would  be  much  better 
employed  in  thinking  of  God,  and  singing  devout  hymns,  than 
such  songs ;  upon  which  she  sang  a  psalm  or  two  in  mockery, 
and  then  fell  asleep.  Wednesday  was  spent  in  the  like  con- 
fronting, drinking,  and  singing ;  she  absolutely  refused  to  let  a 
confessor  come  near  her.  In  short,  on  the  Thursday,  that  is, 
yesterday,  they  denied  her  all  kinds  of  food,  excepting  only  a 
little  broth,  of  which  she  complained  greatly,  seeming  to  be 
apprehensive  that  she  should  not  have  strength  to  carry  her 
through  the  business  of  the  day. 

She  came  from  Vincennes  to  Paris  in  a  coach ;  she  seemed 
embarrassed,  and  as  if  she  wished  to  conceal  what  she  felt. 
They  would  have  had  her  confess,  but  she  would  not  hear  of 
it.  At  five  o'clock  she  was  bound  and  set  on  the  sledge, 
dressed  in  white,  with  a  taper  in  her  hand.  She  was  extremely 
red  in  the  face,  and  was  seen  to  push  away  the  confessor  and 
the  crucifix  with  great  violence.  Madame  de  Chaulnes,  Madame 
de  Sully,  the  Countess  (De  Fiesque),  myself,  and  several  others, 
saw  her  pass  by  the  Hotel  de  Sully.  When  she  came  to  the 
Church  of  Notre-Dame,  she  refused  to  pronounce  the  amende- 
honorable ;  and  at  the  Greve,  she  struggled  with  all  her  might 
to  prevent  their  taking  her  out  of  the  sledge  ;  she  was,  how- 
ever, dragged  out  by  main  force,  and  made  to  sit  down  on  the 
pile,  to  which  she  was  bound  by  iron  chains,  and  then  covered 
over  with  straw.  She  swore  prodigiously,  and  pushed  away 
the  straw  five  or  six  times :  but  at  length  the  fire  increased, 
she  sunk  out  of  sight,  and  her  ashes  are  by  this  time  floating 
in  the  air.     This  is  the  end  of  Madame  Voisin,  celebrated  for 

her  crimes  and  her  impiety.     One  of  the  ju'ges,  to  whom  my 


202  LETTERS     TO 

son  happened  to  mention  his  surprise  at  persons  being  burned 
alive  in  a  slow  fire,  made  answer :  "  My  dear  sir,  there  are 
some  indulgences  granted  to  the  women  in  favor  of  their  sex." 
"  How,  pray  sir  ?  are  they  strangled  ?"  "  No,  sir ;  they  are 
covered  with  faggots,  and  the  executioner  tears  off  their  heads 
with  iron  hooks."  So  you  see,  my  child,  this  is  not  so  dread- 
ful as  we  have  been  told  it  was.  How  do  you  find  yourself 
after  this  little  story  ?  It  made  my  blood  run  cold  in  my 


Paris,  Friday,  March  15,  1680. 
I  am  much  afraid  we  shall  lose  M.  de  la  Rochefoucault.  His 
fever  still  continues.  He  received  the  sacrament  yesterday. 
The  tranquillity  of  his  mind  is  really  worthy  of  admiration. 
He  has  settled  all  affairs  of  conscience,  and  his  disorder  and 
the  prospect  of  approaching  dissolution  give  him  no  concern  ; 
you  would  think  it  was  his  neighbor  at  the  point  of  death. 
He  hears  the  physicians  dispute  without  being  the  least  affected 
by  it,  and  the  contentions  of  the  Englishman  and  Friar  Ange, 
without  saying  a  word.     I  return  to  this  verse  : 

Trop  au-dessus  de  lui,  pour  y  prater  l'esprit.* 

He  would  not  see  Madame  de  la  Fayette  yesterday,  on  account 
of  her  tears,  and  because  he  was  to  receive  the  sacrament ;  but 
he  sent  about  noon  to  know  how  she  was.  Believe  me,  my 
child,  he  has  not  passed  his  life  in  making  useless  reflections : 
he  has  rendered  death  so  familiar  that  the  prospect  is  neither 
new  nor  terrific  to  him.  M.  de  Marsillac  arrived  the  day  be- 
fore yesterday,  at  midnight,  so  overwhelmed  with  grief,  that  I 
do  not  think  even  you  could  feel  more  for  me.  It  was  a  long 
time  before  he  could  compose  himself;  at  length  he  came  in, 
when  he  found  M.  de  Rochefoucault  sitting  in  his  chair,  with 

*  Too  superior  to  himself  to  pay  any  attention  to  it. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  203 

an  air  very  little  different  from  that  he  usually  wore.  As  M. 
de  Marsillac  is  the  only  one  of  his  children  who  may  be  said 
to  enjoy  his  friendship,  it  was  thought  he  would  be  himself 
affected  at  seeing  him ;  but  of  this,  however,  there  was  not  the 
smallest  appearance,  and  he  even  did  not  name  his  illness  to 
him.  His  son,  unable  to  contain  himself  any  longer,  withdrew 
to  give  vent  to  his  grief;  when,  after  a  great  deal  of  alterca- 
tion, Gourville  being  against,  and  Langlade  for  the  Englishman, 
each  of  them  supported  by  different  parties  in  the  family,  and 
the  two  Esculapian  chiefs  keeping  up  all  the  warmth  of  their 
natural  animosity,  M.  de  Marsillac  decided  in  favor  of  the 
Englishman ;  and  yesterday,  at  four  in  the  afternoon,  M.  de  la 
Rochefoucault  took  his  medicines,  and  at  eight  repeated  them 
again.  As  there  is  no  getting  admittance  at  present,  it  is 
difficult  to  learn  the  truth ;  however,  I  have  been  told  that 
after  having  been  last  night  within  an  instant  of  giving  up  the 
ghost  through  the  struggle  between  the  medicine  and  the 
gouty  humor,  he  had  so  considerable  an  evacuation  that 
though  the  fever  has  not  yet  abated,  there  is  reason  to  hope 
for  a  favorable  issue.  I  am  convinced  in  my  own  mind  that 
he  will  recover,  though  M.  de  Marsillac  does  not  yet  venture 
to  admit  a  ray  of  hope.  I  can  compare  him,  in  his  affections 
and  grief,  to  no  one  but  yourself,  my  dear  child,  who  can  not 
bear  the  thoughts  of  my  death.  You  may  well  believe  that  I 
shall  not  give  him  M.  de  Grignan's  letter  at  present :  it  shall 
go,  however,  with  those  that  may  come  afterward ;  for  I  am 
convinced,  with  Langlade,  from  whom  I  learned  all  I  tell 
you,  that  the  remedy  given  will  complete  the  cure. 

I  want  to  know  how  you  are,  after  your  journey  to  Mar- 
seilles ;  I  must  chide  M.  de  Grignan  for  taking  you  with  him ; 
I  can  not  approve  of  such  useless  jaunts.  Must  not  you  also 
show  Toulon,  Hieres,  Saint  Baume,  Saint  Maximin,  and  the 
Fountain  of  Vaucluse,  to  the  Mademoiselles  de  Grignan  ? 

I  am  almost  constantly  with  Madame  de  la  Fayette,  who 
must  be  totally  insensible  to  the  charms  of  friendship,  and  the 
affections  of  the  heart,  were  she  less  afflicted  than  she  is.     I 

204  LETTERS    TO 

close  this  packet  at  her  house,  at  nine  in  the  evening ;  she  has 
read  your  little  note ;  for,  in  spite  of  her  fears,  she  has  hope 
enough  to  be  able  to  read  it.  M.  de  la  Rochefoucault  is  still 
the  same ;  his  legs  begin  to  swell,  which  the  Englishman  does 
not  like ;  he  seems  certain,  however,  that  his  medicines  will 
have  the  desired  effect.  If  this  be  true,  I  shall  admire  the 
great  humanity  of  the  physician  in  not  tearing  him  piecemeal, 
for  this  will  be  the  ruin  of  them  all ;  to  take  the  fever  out  of 
their  hands,  is  to  take  the  bread  out  of  their  mouths.  Du 
Chene  is  very  easy  about  the  matter,  but  all  the  others  are 
stark  mad. 


Paris,  Sunday,  March  IT,  1680. 

Though  this  letter  will  not  go  till  Wednesday,  I  can  not 
help  beginning  it  to-day,  to  inform  you  that  M.  de  la  Roche- 
foucault died  last  night.  I  am  so  much  engrossed  with  this 
misfortune,  and  with  the  extreme  affliction  of  our  poor  friend  * 
that  I  must  relieve  my  mind  by  communicating  the  painful 
event  to  you. 

Yesterday,  which  was  Saturday,  the  Englishman's  medicine 
had  done  wonders ;  all  the  favorable  symptoms  of  Friday, 
which  I  mentioned  to  you,  were  increased  ;  his  friends  began 
to  sing  Te  Deum  in  their  hearts ;  his  lungs  were  clear,  his 
head  free,  his  fever  less,  his  evacuations  such  as  indicated  a 
salutary  crisis :  in  this  state  yesterday,  at  six  o'clock  in  the 
evening,  he  relapsed,  so  as  to  leave  no  hopes  of  recovery ;  his 
fever  redoubled  in  an  instant,  with  an  oppression  of  the  chest 
and  delirium ;  in  a  word,  he  was  suffocated  by  the  treacher- 
ous gout,  and,  notwithstanding  he  had  a  great  degree  of 
strength  left  even  after  all  his  bleeding,  it  carried  him  off  in 
less  than  five  hours,  so  that  he  expired  at  midnight  in  the 
arms  of  the  Bishop  of  Condom.     M.  de  Marsillac  did  not 

*  Madame  de  la  Fayette. 

MADAME     DE     GRIGNAN.  205 

leave  him  a  moment ;  he  is  under  inexpressible  affliction  :  he 
will  find,  however,  some  consolation  in  the  king  and  the  court; 
and  so  will  the  rest  of  the  family,  from  the  place  he  enjoys : 
but  when  will  poor  Madame  de  la  Fayette  find  again  such  a 
friend,  such  a  companion,  such  kindness,  such  attention,  such 
confidence,  and  such  consideration  for  her  and  her  son  !  She 
is  infirm,  confined  to  her  room,  and  not  like  other  people  eter- 
nally from  home.  M.  de  Rochefoucault  was  also  of  a  seden- 
tary disposition ;  their  situation  rendered  them  necessary  to 
each  other;  so  that  the  mutual  confidence  and  delightful 
friendship  that  subsisted  between  them  was  unequaled.  Think, 
of  this,  my  child,  and  you  will  be  convinced  with  me  that  no 
one  could  sustain  a  greater  loss,  for  this  is  not  to  be  repaired 
or  obliterated  even  by  time.  I  have  never  once  quitted  this 
disconsolate  friend  ;  she  did  not  mix  in  the  hurry  and  confu- 
sion of  the  family,  so  that  she  really  stood  in  need  of  some 
pity.  Madame  de  Coulanges  has  likewise  acquitted  herself 
very  well  on  this  occasion,  and  we  shall  continue  to  discharge 
our  duty  even  at  the  hazard  of  our  eyes,  which  are  almost 
always  filled  with  tears.  You  see  how  unluckily  your  letters 
came ;  they  have  hitherto  had  no  admirers  but  Madame  de 
Coulanges  and  myself;  when  the  chevalier  returns  he  may 
possibly  find  a  proper  season  for  presenting  them  ;  meantime 
you  must  write  one  out  of  condolence  to  M.  de  Marsillac  ;  he 
does  honor  to  filial  affection,  and  is  a  living  proof  that  you 
are  not  alone  in  this  respect ;  but,  in  fact,  I  doubt  that  either 
of  you  will  meet  with  many  imitators.  The  melancholy  that 
reigns  around  me  has  awakened  all  my  sensibility,  and  makes 
me  feel  the  anguish  of  separation  in  all  its  horrors. 


Paris,  Wednesday,  April  3,  1680. 

My  dear  child,  poor  M.  Fouquet  is  dead,*  and  I  am  affected 
at  the  intelligence :  I  never  knew  so  many  friends  lost  in  a 

*  Gourville  affirms,  in  his  Memoirs,  that  he  was  liberated  before  his 

206  LETTERS    TO 

manner  at  once,  and  it  overwhelms  me  with  sorrow  to  see  so 
many  dead  around  me ;  but  what  is  not  around  me  pierces  my 
heart,  and  that  is  the  apprehension  I  suffer  from  the  return  of 
yo  lr  former  disorders ;  for  though  you  would  conceal  it  from 
me,  I  can  perceive  your  flushings,  your  heaviness,  and  short- 
ness of  breath.  In  short,  that  flattering  interval  is  now  over, 
and  what  was  thought  a  cure  has  turned  out  a  mere  pallia- 
tive. I  remember  your  words  :  that  a  flame  half-quenched  is 
easily  revived.  The  remedies  you  treasure  up  against  an  evil 
day,  and  which  you  reckon  infallible,  ought  to  be  used  imme- 
diately. Has  M.  de  Grignan  no  authority  on  this  occasion  ?  Is 
he  not  alarmed  at  your  situation  ?  I  have  seen  young  Beau- 
mont ;  I  leave  you  to  guess  whether  I  asked  him  any  ques- 
tions. When  I  recollected  that  he  had  seen  you  within  a 
week,  he  appeared  to  me  the  most  desirable  companion  in  the 
world.  He  said  you  were  not  quite  so  well  when  he  set  out 
as  you  had  been  during  the  winter.  He  mentioned  your  sup- 
per and  entertainment,  which  he  praised  highly ;  as  also  the 
kind  attentions  both  of  you  and  of  M.  de  Grignan,  and  the 
care  M.  de  Grignan's  daughters  took  that  you  might  not  be 
missed  when  you  retired  to  rest.  He  said  wonders  of  Pauline 
and  the  little  marquis ;  I  should  never  have  been  the  first  to 
put  an  end  to  the  conversation,  but  he  wanted  to  go  to  St. 
Germain  ;  for,  as  he  said,  he  had  paid  me  the  first  visit,  even 
before  that  which  he  owed  to  the  king  his  master.  His  grand- 
father had  the  same  place  which  Marshal  de  Bellefond  has 
had  :*  he  was  a  very  intimate  friend  of  my  father's  ;  and  in- 
stead of  seeking  out  for  relations,  as  is  generally  the  custom,  my 
father  chose  him,  without  further  ceremony,  to  stand  sponsor 
to  his  daughter;  so  that  he  is  my  godfatha  I  am  per- 
fectly acquainted  with  all  the  family.  I  think  the  grandson 
handsome,  extremely  handsome.     You  did  well  to  say  nothing 

death,  and  Voltaire  believed  it,  from  the  account  of  his  daughter-in- 
law,  Madame  de  Yaux.  But  Madame  de  Sevigne  believed  he  died  at 
Pignerol,  and  so  did  the  public.  Mademoiselle  de  Montpensier  con- 
firms the  general  opinion.    *  *  Of  steward  of  the  household. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  207 

to  him  about  your  brother :  I  have  myself  mentioned  it  to 
no  one,  except  to  such  persons  as  my  son  had  previously  in- 
formed of  it,  in  order  to  find  a  purchaser. 

I  conclude  you  must  by  this  time  be  at  Grignan.  I  see 
with  affliction  the  bustle  of  taking  leave ;  I  see,  on  your  quit- 
ting your  retirement,  which  appeared  to  you  so  short,  a  jour- 
ney to  Aries;  another  fatigue;  and  I  see  your  journey  to 
Grignan,  where  you  may  possibly  be  saluted  on  your  arrival 
by  a  northeast  wind ;  ah  !  I  can  not  behold  all  these  things 
for  a  person  so  delicate  as  you  are,  and  not  tremble. 

You  have  sent  me  an  account  of  Anfossi  infinitely  prefer- 
.  able  to  all  mine.  I  do  not  wonder  you  can  not  think  of  part- 
ing with  an  estate  where  there  are  so  many  diverting  gipsies. 
There  could  not  be  a  more  agreeable  or  novel  reception  ;  you 
are  indeed  so  much  a  Stoic,  and  so  full  of  reflections,  that  I 
should  fear  joining  mine  to  yours,  lest  I  should  double  the  sor- 
row ;  but  I  think  it  would  be  prudent  and  reasonable,  and 
worthy  of  M.  de  Grignan's  affection,  to  use  his  utmost  endeav- 
ors to  be  here  about  the  beginning  of  October.  There  is  no 
other  place  where  you  can  think  of  passing  the  winter.  But 
I  will  say  no  more  at  present ;  things  urged  prematurely  lose 
all  their  force,  and  often  create  disgust. 

There  are  no  more  long  journeys  talked  of  here ;  the  only 
one  spoken  of  is  that  to  Fontainebleau.  You  will  most  assured- 
ly have  M.  de  Vendome  with  you  this  year.  For  my  part,  I 
am  preparing  to  set  out  for  Brittany  with  inexpressible  regret ; 
but  I  must  go  in  order  to  be  there,  stay  a  little  while,  and 
return.  After  the  loss  of  health,  which  I  always,  with  reason, 
place  first,  nothing  gives  me  so  much  vexation  as  the  disorder 
of  my  private  affairs.  It  is  to  this  cruel  reason  I  sacrifice  my 
ease  and  gratification ;  for  I  leave  you  to  judge  what  a  situa- 
ation  I  am  likely  to  be  in,  with  so  much  time  and  solitude  on 
my  hands,  to  add  new  force  to  my  anxiety  at  being  separated 
from  you.  This  cup,  however,  I  must  swallow,  bitter  as  it  is, 
in  hopes  of  seeing  you  at  my  return  ;  for  all  my  movements 
tend  to  that  point.     And,  however  superior  I  may  be  to  other 

208  LETTERS    TO 

things,  that  is  always  superior  to  me ;  it  is  my  fate.  And  the 
sufferings  which  attend  my  affection  for  you,  being  offered  to 
God,  are  a  penance  due  for  a  love  which  I  ought  to  bear  for 
him  alone. 

My  son  is  just  arrived  from  Douay,  where  he  commanded 
the  gendarmerie  during  March.  M.  de  Pomponne  has  spent 
the  day  here ;  he  loves,  honors,  and  esteems  you  perfectly. 
My  being  resident  for  you  with  Madame  de  Vins,  occasions 
my  being  often  with  her ;  and,  indeed,  I  could  not  wish  to  be 
better  any  where.  Poor  Madame  de  la  Fayette  is  now  wholly 
at  a  loss  how  to  dispose  of  herself;  the  loss  of  M.  de  la  Roche- 
foucault  has  made  so  terrible  a  void  in  her  life,  as  to  render 
her  a  better  judge  of  the  value  of  so  precious  a  friendship. 
Every  one  else  will  be  comforted  in  time ;  but  she,  alas !  has 
nothing  to  occupy  her  mind,  whereas  the  rest  will  return  to 
their  several  avocations. 

Mademoiselle  de  Scuderi  is  greatly  afflicted  with  the  death 
of  M.  Fouquet ;  that  life  is  at  length  terminated,  which  so  many 
pains  have  been  taken  to  preserve .  His  illness  was  convul- 
sions, and  a  constant  retching,  without  being  able  to  vomit. 
I  depend  on  the  chevalier  for  news,  especially  what  relates  to 
the  dauphiness,  whose  court  is  composed  exactly  as  you 
guessed ;  your  notions  are  very  just.  The  king  is  often  there, 
which  keeps  the  crowd  somewhat  at  a  distance.  Adieu,  my 
dear,  affectionate  child ;  I  love  you  a  thousand  times  more 
than  I  can  express. 


Paris,  Friday,  April  12,  1680. 
You  mention  the  dauphiness  to  me ;  the  chevalier  can  tell 
jrou  more  about  her  than  I  can.  However,  I  think  she  does 
not  seem  to  attach  herself  much  to  the  queen.  They  have 
been  to  Versailles  together,  but  on  other  days  they  generally 
make  their  separate  parties.     The  king  frequently  visits  the 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  209 

dauphiness  in  an  afternoon,  when  he  is  sure  not  to  be  crowded 
She  holds  her  circle  from  eight  in  the  evening*  till  half  after 
nine ;  all  the  rest  of  the  day  she  is  alone,  or  with  her  ladies 
in  waiting.  The  Princess  of  Conti  almost  always  makes  one 
of  these  private  parties ;  for,  as  she  is  yet  but  very  young,  she 
stands  in  need  of  such  a  pattern  to  form  her  conduct  by.  The 
dauphiness  is  a  miracle  of  wit,  understanding,  and  good  edu- 
cation. She  frequently  mentions  her  mother  with  great  af- 
fection ;  and  says,  that  she  is  indebted  to  her  for  all  the  pros- 
perity and  happiness  she  enjoys,  by  the  pains  she  bestowed  on 
her.  She  learns  music,  singing,  and  dancing ;  she  reads,  she 
works  at  her  needle ;  in  short,  she  is  a  complete  being.  I 
must  own  that  I  had  a  great  curiosity  to  see  her.  According- 
ly I  went  with  Madame  de  Chaulnes  and  Madame  de  Carman ; 
she  was  at  her  toilet  when  we  came  in,  and  engaged  in  a  con- 
versation in  Italian  with  the  Duke  of  Nevers.  We  were  pre- 
sented to  her,  and  she  received  us  very  politely.  It  is  easy 
to  perceive  that,  if  a  moment  could  be  found  of  putting  in  a 
word  opportunely,  it  would  not  be  difficult  to  engage  her  in 
conversation.  She  is  fond  of  Italian,  of  poetry,  of  new  publi- 
cations, music,  and  dancing.  You  see  that  one  need  not  be 
long  dumb  amid  such  a  variety  of  topics  for  discourse ;  but  it 
requires  time — she  was  going  to  mass.  Neither  Madame  de 
Maintenon  nor  Madame  de  Richelieu  was  in  her  apartment. 

The  court,  my  dear  child,  is  by  no  means  a  place  for  me  ;  I 
am  past  the  time  of  life  to  wish  for  any  settlement  there.  If 
I  were  young  I  would  take  pleasure  in  rendering  myself  agree- 
able to  this  princess ;  but  what  right  have  I  to  think  of  return- 
ing there  ?  You  see  what  my  views  are.  As  for  those  of  my 
son,  they  seem  to  have  become  more  reasonable  ;  he  will  make 
a  virtue  of  necessity,  and  keep  his  commission  quietly.  Indeed 
it  is  not  an  object  for  any  one  to  give  himself  much  trouble 
to  gain,  though  Heaven  knows  it  has  cost  us  trouble  enough ; 
but  the  truth  is,  that  money  is  very  scarce,  and  he  sees  plainly 
that  he  must  not  make  a  foolish  bargain.  So,  my  dear,  we 
must  even  wait  for  what  Providence  shall  bring  forth. 

210  LETTERS    TO 

Yesterday  the  Bishop  of  Autun  pronounced  the  funeral  ora- 
tion of  Madame  de  Longueville,*  at  the  church  of  the  Carmel- 
ites, with  all  the  powers  and  grace  that  man  is  capable  of. 
Here  was  no  Tartuffe,\  no  hypocrite ;  but  a  divine  of  rank, 
preaching  with  dignity,  and  giving  an  account  of  that  prin- 
cess's life  with  all  the  elegance  imaginable,  passing  lightly 
over  the  most  delicate  parts  of  it,  and  dwelling  upon  or  omit- 
ting all  that  should  or  should  not  be  said.  His  text  was  these 
words,  "  Favor  is  deceitful,  and  beauty  is  vain ;  but  a  woman 
that  feareth  the  Lord,  she  shall  be  praised."  He  divided  his 
oration  into  two  parts,  equally  beautiful;  he  spoke  of  the 
charms  of  her  person,  and  of  the  late  wars,  inimitably ;  and  I 
need  not  tell  you,  that  the  second  part,  which  was  taken  up  in 
giving  an  account  of  her  exemplary  penitence  for  the  last 
twenty-seven  years  of  her  life,  gave  him  an  ample  field  to  ex- 
patiate upon  the  virtues  of  her  mind,  and  to  place  her  in  the 
bosom  of  her  God.J    He  took  occasion  very  naturally  to  praise 

*  Anne  Genevieve  de  Bourbon,  daughter  of  Henry  Bourbon,  second 
of  the  name,  Prince  of  Conde,  who  died  the  15th  of  April,  1679. 

f  It  was  imagined  at  that  time,  that  the  Bishop  of  Autun  (G-abriel 
de  Roquette)  was  the  person  whom  Moliere  had  in  view  in  the  charac- 
ter of  Tartuffe. 

We  can  not  forbear  adding  an  epigram  of  Boileau's  upon  him : 

On  dit  que  l'Abbe  Roquette 
Preche  les  sermons  d'autrui ; 
Moi  qui  sais  qu'il  les  achete, 
Je  soutiens  qu'il  sont  a  lui. 

Which  may  be  Englished  by  a  parody  on  a  well-known  epigram  in  out 
language : 

The  sermons  that  Roquette  pronounces 

Are  his ; — who  'd  so  have  thought  them  ? 

He  swears  they  're  his ;  say  not  he  bounces, 

For  I  know  where  he  bought  them ! 

\  To  estimate  the  skillfulness  of  the  panegyrist,  it  is  proper  to  know 
the  soil  on  which  he  labored.  The  life  of  Madame  de  Longueville  pre- 
sented the  Abbe  Roquette  with  strange  circuitous  roads  to  measure, 
before  he  brought  her  to  the  way  of  salvation,  whither  he  conducted 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  211 

the  king ;  and  the  prince  was  also  compelled  to  digest  a  great 
many  eulogiums ;  but  as  delicately  prepared,  though  in  a  dif- 
ferent manner,  as  those  of  Voiture.  This  hero  was  present, 
as  were  the  duke,  the  Princess  of  Conti,  and  all  the  family,  be- 
ides  an  infinite  number  of  other  persons;  though,  in  my 
opinion,  too  few,  for  I  think  this  respect  was  at  least  due  to 
ihe  prince,  on  occasion  of  an  event  he  had  not  yet  ceased  to 
lament.  You  may  perhaps  ask  me  how  I  came  there  ?  Ma- 
dame de  Guenegaud  offered  the  other  day  at  M.  de  Chaulnes', 
to  take  me  with  her ;  as  it  was  not  inconvenient  to  me,  I  was 
tempted  to  embrace  the  offer ;  and  I  assure  you  I  did  not  at 
all  repent  having  done  so.  There  were  a  great  many  women 
present,  who  had  as  little  to  do  there  as  myself.  Both  the 
prince  and  the  duke  paid  great  attention  to  all  who  were 

I  saw  Madame  de  la  Fayette  as  we  were  coming  out  of  the 

her.  She  was  one  of  the  three  ladies  of  whom  Cardinal  de  Mazarin 
said  to  Don  Louis  de  Haro :  "  We  have  three,  among  others,  who  cre- 
ate greater  confusion  than  arose  at  the  tower  of  Babel. "  Like  Madamo 
de  Chevreuse  and  La  Palatine,  the  part  she  took  in  the  intrigues  of  the 
minority  of  Louis  XIV.  is  notorious ;  like  them,  she  united  the  tri- 
umphs of  beauty  to  the  success  of  factions,  and  the  love  of  business  to 
the  love  of  amours.  Voiture  represents  her  as  already  serious  and  po- 
litical, when,  at  an  early  age,  she  appeared  at  the  Congress  of  Munster, 
where  her  husband  presided  over  the  French  embassy.  The  Fronde 
began;  her  artifices  and  blandishments  seduced  the  sage  Turenne, 
when  he  came  at  the  head  of  the  Spaniards  to  give  battle  to  the  French. 
Beloved,  not  much  in  the  style  of  a  brother,  by  the  Prince  de  Conti, 
she  made  him  the  chief  of  the  Frondeurs,  and  general  of  the  insurgents, 
thus  opposing  him  to  her  other  brother,  the  great  Conde,  who  com- 
manded the  army  of  the  court.  It  was  she  who  afterward  dragged 
this  hero  into  the  civil  war,  and  joined  him  to  the  Spaniards.  She  long 
wandered  as  a  heroine,  or  as  Cardinal  de  Retz  said,  who  had  himself 
been  her  lo'ver,  as  a  fugitive  adventurer.  She  went  alternately,  com- 
manding or  intriguing,  to  Holland,  Flanders,  Dieppe,  Stenay,  Montrond, 
Bordeaux.  In  1649  she  reigned  in  the  H6tel-de-ville  of  Paris,  and  did 
what  no  one  had  ever  done  before,  nor  will  perhaps  do  after  her,  she 
lay-in  there ;  and  that  at  a  time  when  this  hotel  served  as  a  palace  to 
the  court,  as  the  seat  of  government,  and  as  the  head-quarters  of  the 

212  LETTERS    TO 

church ;  she  was  bathed  in  tears ;  it  seems  that  some  of  Ml 
de  la  Rochefoucault's  hand-writing  had  by  accident  fallen  in 
her  way,  which  had  awakened  all  her  sorrows.  I  had  just 
parted  from  the  Mesdemoiselles  de  la  Rochefoucault  at  the 
Carmelites,  who  had  been  also  weeping  the  loss  of  their  father ; 
the  eldest,  in  particular,  equaled  M.  de  Marsillac  in  affection- 
ate sorrow.  I  really  do  not  think  that  Madame  de  la  Fayette 
will  ever  be  comforted ;  for  my  part,  I  am  the  worst  of  any 
of  her  acquaintance  to  be  with  her ;  for  we  can  not  help  in- 
dulging ourselves  in  talking  of  that  worthy  man,  and  the  con- 
versation is  death  to  her.  She  was  certainly  more  deserving 
of  his  regard  than  any  of  those  he  had  an  affection  for.  She 
has  read  your  little  note,  and  thanks  you  warmly  for  the  man- 
ner in  which  you  seem  to  enter  into  her  grief. 

Have  I  told  you  of  the  reception  Madame  de  Coulanges  met 
with  at  St.  Germain  ?   The  dauphiness  told  her  that  she  already 

army.  Two  of  her  lovers,  the  Count  de  Coligny  and  the  Duke  de  Ne- 
mours, were  killed  in  a  duel.  The  first  fought  by  her  orders,  in  her 
quarrel,  and  under  her  inspection.  The  Duke  de  la  Rochefoucault, 
who  had  long  loved  her,  was  betrayed  by  her,  both  as  a  friend  and  as 
a  lover.  When  the  peace  of  the  Pyrenees  had  brought  back  the  princes 
to  France,  it  was  found  that  age  prescribed  repose  to  her,  at  the  same 
time  that  the  state  of  affairs  obliged  her  to  it.  She  endeavored  at  first 
to  escape  it,  by  forming  a  party  for  Yoiture's  sonnet  against  Bense 
rades.  But  these  little  contests  of  wit  were  insipid,  in  comparison  with 
those  she  had  been  engaged  in.  Nothing  remained  for  her  but  devo- 
tion ;  and  as  a  character  and  a  party  were  always  essential  to  her,  she 
became  the  protectress  of  the  Jansenists  at  court,  and,  what  is  more, 
mediatrix  between  them  and  Rome.  For  it  was  Madame  de  Longue- 
ville  who  in  1668  mediated  the  theological  transaction  which  suspended 
the  debates  of  the  Formulary,  and  which  was  called  the  peace  of  Cle- 
ment IX.  Singular  woman !  who  had  the  art  of  making  herself  con- 
spicuous while  working  out  her  salvation,  and  of  saving  herself  on  the 
same  plank  from  perdition  and  from  ennui.  It  was  asserted  at  the 
time,  that  she  died  for  want  of  food,  and  there  is  no  doubt  she  practiced 
the  most  rigid  austerities.  "  Though  naturally  delicate,"  says  Madame 
de  Maintenon,  "she  never  relaxed  in  the  practice  of  self-denial." 
There  is  a  life  of  this  lady  in  two  volumes  by  Villefore,  which  is  said 
to  be  well  written. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  213 

knew  her  by  her  letters ;  that  her  ladies  had  also  told  her  a 
great  deal  of  her  wit,  and  that  she  wished  to  judge  of  it  her- 
self. Madame  de  Coulanges  supported  her  character  admira- 
bly upon  the  occasion ;  her  repartees  were  brilliant,  sallies  of 
wit  flew  without  number ;  in  the  afternoon  she  was  invited  to 
be  of  the  princess's  private  party,  with  her  three  friends  :  all 
the  ladies  of  the  court  would  have  strangled  her.  You  see 
that  by  means  of  these  friends  she  gets  admittance  to  a  private 
conversation ;  but  what  does  all  this  tend  to  ?  She  can  not 
be  one  of  their  party  in  public,  nor  at  table.  This  spoils  the 
whole  ;  she  is  fully  sensible  of  the  humiliation;  and  has  been 
these  four  days  tasting  these  pleasures  and  dissatisfactions. 


Paris,  Wednesday ,  2fay  1,  1680. 

I  know  not  what  weather  you  may  have  in  Provence,  but 
we  have  had  for  these  weeks  past  such  horrible  weather  here 
that  several  journeys  have  been  delayed  by  it,  and  mine 
among  the  rest.  The  good  abbe  had  like  to  have  perished  in 
going  and  coming  from  La  Trousse ;  so  says  M.  de  la  Trousse — 
you  would  not  have  believed  me.  They  had  an  architect 
with  them,  and  went  to  give  orders  about  some  alterations, 
which  will  make  this  house,  which  we  before  thought  so  beau- 
tiful, hardly  to  be  known  again. 

We  have  a  new  moon  to-day,  which  I  hope  will  bring  fine 
weather  with  it,  and  let  me  set  out ;  I  have  not  yet  fixed  on 
what  day  I  shall  go.  I  can  not  express  the  concern  this  second 
parting  gives  me ;  I  must  surely  be  out  of  my  senses  to  re- 
move so  much  further  from  you,  and  to  place  a  distance  of  a 
hundred  leagues  more  between  us  than  there  is  already.  I 
have  a  mortal  aversion  to  business  ;  it  takes  up  so  great  a  por- 
tion of  our  time,  and  makes  us  run  hither  and  thither  just  as 
it  pleases.  I  shall  be  so  affected  when  I  am  setting  out,  that 
those  who  hand  me  into  my  carnage  may  very  naturally 

214  LETTERS    TO 

think  it  is  at  parting  with  them.  I  am  certain  I  shall  not  be 
able  to  refrain  from  tears,  and  yet  I  must  go,  if  it  is  only  that 
I  may  come  back  again. 

Mademoiselle  de  Meri  is  now  in  possession  of  your  apart- 
ment ;  the  noise  of  that  little  door  opening  and  shutting,  and 
the  circumstance  of  not  finding  you  there,  have  affected  me 
more  than  I  can  express.  All  my  people  do  their  best  to 
serve  her.  And  if  I  were  vain,  I  could  show  you  a  letter  I 
received  from  her  the  other  day,  full  of  thanks  for  the  assist- 
ance I  have  given  her ;  but  as  I  am  very  modest,  you  know,  I 
will  content  myself  with  placing  it  in  my  archives. 

I  have  seen  Madame  de  Vins ;  she  is  buried  in  her  law-suits. 
However,  we  find  time  to  chat  together,  and  express  our  mu- 
tual wonder  at  the  odd  medley  of  good  and  evil  in  this  world, 
and  the  impossibility  of  being  truly  happy.  You  know  all 
that  fortune  has  hitherto  done  for  the  Duchess  of  Fontanges. 
What  she  has  reserved  for  her  is  this  :  so  violent  a  flux,  with 
some  degree  of  fever,  that  she  is  confined  to  her  bed  at  Mau- 
buisson,  and  her  fine  face  already  begins  to  swell.  The  Prior 
of  Cabrieres  does  not  quit  her  for  an  instant ;  if  he  effects  a 
cure,  he  will  not  make  his  fortune  badly  at  court.  Think 
whether  her  situation  does  not  derogate  somewhat  from  her 
happiness.  Here  is  further  room  for  reflection.  But  to  an- 
other subject. 

Madame  de  Dreux  was  liberated  from  prison  yesterday ;  she 
was  only  reprimanded,  which  is  a  very  slight  punishment,  and 
fined  five  hundred  livres,  which  are  to  be  distributed  in  alms. 
This  poor  lady  has  been  confined  a  whole  year  in  a  room,  where 
the  light  came  in  only  by  a  small  hole  at  the  top,  without 
tidings  of  any  thing  going  on,  or  without  comfort.  Her  mo- 
ther, who  doted  on  her,  who  was  herself  still  young  and 
handsome,  and  who  was  equally  beloved  by  her  daughter,  died 
about  two  months  ago,  of  grief  at  her  child's  situation.  Ma- 
dame de  Drenx  was  ignorant  of  this  event ;  and  yesterday, 
when  her  husband  and  all  the  family  went  with  open  arms  to 
the  place  where  she  was  confined,  to  receive  her,  the  first 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  215 

word  she  spoke  on  seeing  them  enter  her  room,  was,  "  Where 
is  my  mother  ?  Why  is  she  not  here  ?"  M.  de  Dreux  told 
her  she  was  waiting  for  her  at  home.  The  poor  creature 
could  not,  however,  enjoy  the  satisfaction  of  being  at  liberty  ; 
but  was  incessantly  inquiring  what  ailed  her  mother,  that  she 
was  certain  she  must  be  ill,  or  she  would  have  come  to  em- 
brace her  after  so  long  a  separation.  At  length  she  got  home. 
"  What !  my  mother  not  here  ?  I  do  not  see  her,  I  do  not 
hear  her !"  She  flew  up  stairs.  No  one  knew  what  to  say 
to  her;  all  were  in  tears.  She  ran  into  her  mother's  apart- 
ment, she  looked  about  her,  called,  but  received  no  answer ;  at 
length  a  Celestine  friar,  who  was  her  confessor,  appeared,  and 
told  her  that  she  must  not  hope  to  see  her  mother  again  till 
they  met  in  heaven,  and  that  she  must  submit  with  resigna- 
tion to  the  Divine  will.  Upon  hearing  this  she  fainted  away, 
and  when  she  recovered,  burst  into  tears  and  lamentations, 
which  pierced  the  hearts  of  all  present,  crying  that  it  was  she 
who  had  killed  her  mother ;  that  she  had  rather  have  died  in 
prison,  than  have  been  set  at  liberty  to  know  the  loss  of  so 
excellent  a  parent.  Coulanges,  who  had  run  to  M.  de  Dreux's, 
like  many  other  friends,  was  witness  to  the  whole  of  this  af- 
fecting scene,  which  he  related  to  us  yesterday  so  naturally  and 
pathetically,  that  Madame  de  Coulanges'  eyes  looked  red,  and 
I  wept  heartily,  being  wholly  unable  to  suppress  my  tears. 
What  think  you,  my  child,  of  this  bitter  ingredient  thrown 
into  the  cup  of  joy  and  triumph,  to  overpower  the  congratula- 
tions and  embraces  of  a  whole  family  and  their  friends  ?  The 
poor  soul  is  still  in  tears,  notwithstanding  all  M.  de  Richelieu's 
endeavors  to  dry  them  for  her.  He  has  indeed  done  wonders 
in  this  affair. 

I  have  been  insensibly  led  into  this  long  detail,  which  you  will 
comprehend  better  than  any  one,  and  which  has  affected  every 
heart.  It  is  believed  that  M.  de  Luxembourg  will  be  set  at 
liberty  upon  as  easy  terms  as  Madame  de  Dreux  ;  for  some  of 
the  judges  would  have  released  her  without  even  being  repri- 
manded.    And,  upon  the  whole,  the  treatment  of  the  accused 

216  LETTERS    TO 

persons  has  been  shocking  and  scandalous,  considering  that 
nothing  was  proved  against  them.  This,  however,  shows  the 
integrity  of  the  judges. 

We  all  approve  the  discourses  of  your  preacher ;  we  have 
envied  and  admired  him.  The  passion-sermon,  which  we 
heard  not  far  from  hence,  was  a  most  extraordinary  one ;  I 
assure  you  the  terms  rascal  and  scoundrel  were  made  use  o^ 
to  express  the  humiliation  of  our  blessed  Saviour.  Do  not 
these  terms  convey  noble  and  sublime  ideas?  Bourdaloue 
preached  like  an  angel  from  heaven,  both  last  year  and  this, 
for  it  is  the  same  sermon. 

What  you  write  me  about  this  world  appearing  quite  an- 
other world,  if  we  could  draw  aside  the  curtain  in  eveiy 
family,  is  both  well  expressed  and  perfectly  true.  Good 
heavens !  who  can  tell  whether  even  the  heart  of  the  princess, 
whom  we  praise  so  much,  is  thoroughly  contented  ?  She  has 
appeared  dull"  these  three  or  four  days  past ;  who  knows  how 
things  are  with  her  ?  She  would  be  with  child,  and  she  is 
not.  Perhaps  she  wants  to  see  Paris  and  St.  Cloud,  and  she 
has  not  yet  seen  them.  She  is  extremely  affable  ;  she  studies 
to  please.  Who  knows  but  this  may  cost  her  some  uneasi- 
ness ?  Who  knows  whether  she  is  pleased  alike  with  all  the 
ladies  who  have  the  honor  of  attending  upon  her?  And 
lastly,  who  knows  but  she  may  be  weary  of  so  retired  a  life  ? 

I  have  this  very  moment  received  your  amiable  melancholy 
letter  of  the  24th.  Believe  me,  my  dear  child,  it  sensibly 
affects  me.  I  am  not  yet  set  out,  the  bad  weather  detains  me, 
for  it  would  have  been  folly  to  expose  myself  in  such  a  season. 
This  has  unhinged  every  thing.  I  shall  write  to  you  from 
Paris  again,  on  Friday,  and  will  tell  you  about  the  alterations 
that  are  going  on :  I  gave  my  opinion  first,  and  am  not  so  silly 
as  you  think,  when  you  are  in  the  case.     We  read  in  history* 

*  Every  one  knows  that  painting  and  sculpture  took  their  rise  from 
love,  and  that  a  marshal,  who  fell  in  love  with  a  painter's  daughter, 
became  an  excellent  painter,  merely  by  endeavoring  to  please  his  mis- 

MADAME     DE     GRIGNAN.  217 

of  greater  miracles  :  there  are  affections  which  do  not  yield  to 
the  other  passion ;  hence  I  am  become  an  architect. 

I  admire  extremely  what  you  say  respecting  devotion.  Good 
heavens  !  how  truly  may  it  be  said  that  we  are  all  like  Tantalus 
with  water  close  to  our  lips,  and  unable  to  drink  !  Let  the 
heart  be  cold,  the  understanding  enlightened,  it  is  just  the 
same.  I  have  no  need  of  the  dispute  between  the  Jansenists 
and  Molinists  to  decide  this  matter.  What  I  feel  myself  is 
sufficient,  and  how  can  I  doubt  it,  if  I  observe  myself  an  in- 
stant ?  I  could  talk  a  long  time,  and  with  infinite  pleasure  on 
this  subject,  if  we  were  together,  but  you  stop  short,  and  I  am 
silent.  Corbinelli  had.  his  share  of  your  letter,  for  I  am  fond 
of  his  frank  truths.  He  has  just  heard  a  sermon  of  the  Abbe 
Flechier's,*  at  the  taking  the  vail  of  a  young  Capuchin  nun, 
which  has  charmed  him.  The  subject  was  the  freedom  of  the 
children  of  God,  which  he  explained  in  a  bold  and  masterly 
style.  He  showed  "  that  this  young  person  alone  could  be 
called  free,  because  she  partook  of  the  freedom  of  Christ  and 
his  saints  ;  and  she  was  released  from  the  slavery  in  which  we 
are  held  by  our  passions  ;  that  it  was  she  who  was  free,  and 
not  we ;  that  she  had  but  one  master,  whereas  we  had  a  hun- 
dred ;  and  that  instead  of  lamenting  for  her,  as  we  did,  with  a 
worldly  sorrow  which  was  blamable,  we  ought  to  consider, 
respect,  and  even  envy  her,  as  a  person  chosen  from  all  eternity 
to  be  of  the  number  of  the  elect."  I  have  not  repeated  the 
tenth  part  of  what  he  said  on  this  subject ;  but  it  was  altogether 
a  finished  pietfe.  The  funeral  oration  on  Madame  de  Longue- 
ville  is  not  to  be  printed. 

You  ask  me  why  I  do  not  take  Corbinelli  with  me  ?  He  is 
going  into  Languedoc,  loaded  with  the  favors  and  civilities  of 
M.  de  Vardes,  who  has  accompanied  his  pension  of  120  francs 
with  so  excellent  a  seasoning,  I  mean  so  many  kind  and  affec- 
tionate sentiments,  that  our  friend's  philosophy  could  not  with- 
stand it.      Vardes   is   always   in  extremes;    and   as    I   am 

*  Esprit  Flechier,  made  Bishop  of  Lauvar  in  1685,  and  removed 
from  thence  to  Nimes  in  1687. 


218  LETTERS    TO 

persuaded  that  he  formerly  hated  him,  because  he  had  used 
him  ill,  he  now  loves  him,  because  he  uses  him  well :  this  is 
the  Italian  proverb  and  its  reverse.*  I  am  going  there  with 
only  the  good  abbe,  and  a  few  books,  and  your  idea,  which 
will  prove  the  source  of  all  my  pleasure  or  pain.  I  assure  you 
it  will  keep  me  from  staying  out  in  the  evening  dews  :  I  shall 
recollect  that  it  would  displease  you ;  and  this  will  not  be  the 
only  time  you  have  prevented  me  from  continuing  my  evening 
walk,  and  made  me  return 'home.  I  promise  to  consult  you, 
and  to  follow  your  advice  at  all  times  ;  do  the  same  by  me, 
and  be  under  no  alarms ;  rest  assured  that  I  will  take  care  of 
myself ;  I  wish  I  could  put  the  same  confidence  in  you  ;  but  I 
have  many  subjects  of  complaint  against  you  on  this  score ; 
and  without  going  further  than  Monaco,  have  I  not  the  banks 
of  the  Rhone,  whither  you  forced  the  stoutest  hearts  in  your 
family  to  accompany  you,  in  spite  of  themselves  ?  I  repeat  it, 
in  spite  of  themselves ;  and  be  pleased  to  remember,  on  the 
other  hand,  that  I  should  die  with  fear  even  to  pass  les  vaux 
D'Olioulesf  on  foot.  This  confession  of  my  cowardice  is  suf- 
ficient to  prove  my  apprehensions  and  ensure  your  confidence. 
Let  then,  my  dear  child,  the  remembrance  of  me  govern  you, 
in  some  degree,  as  yours  always  governs  me. 

I  fancy  my  son  will  meet  me  at  Orleans.  I  am  aware  of 
the  attentions  of  M.  de  Grignan :  he  has  politeness,  nobleness, 
and  even  affectionate  tenderness;  but  he  has  some  points 
which  are  not  so  agreeable,  and  more  difficult  to  be  conceived ; 
and  as  every  thing  is  cut  diamond-wise,  he  has  many  sides 
which  are  inimitable,  so  that  we  are  at  once  tempted  to  love 
and  to  scold  him,  to  esteem  and  to  blame,  to  embrace  and  to 
beat  him. 

Adieu,  my  dear  child ;  I  must  now  leave  you.  Surely  you 
mean  to  laugh  at  me  when  you  express  your  apprehensions  lest 

*  Chi  offende  non  per  dona.    The  offender  never  pardons. 

f  Les  vaux  D'Olioules,  or,  as  it  is  called  in  the  dialect  of  that  country, 
lets  baous  D'  Oulioules,  is  a  narrow  pass  by  the  side  of  a  river,  about  ft 
league  in  length,  running  between  two  steep  hills,  in  Provence. 

MADAME    DE     GEIGNAN.  219 

I  should  write  too  much.  My  lungs  are  almost  as  delicate  as 
Georget's  :*  excuse  the  comparison,  it  comes  from  hence.  But 
for  you,  my  child,  let  me  conjure  you  not  to  write.  Montgo- 
bert,  pray  do  not  abandon  me,  but  step  in  and  take  the  pen 
from  her  hand. 


Paris,  Monday,  May  6,  1680. 
Tou  observe  with  great  humor,  that,  if  the  human  heart  is 
left  to  itself,  it  will  always  find  something  to  comfort  itself 
with,  and  that  its  disposition  is  to  be  happy.  I  hope  mine 
will  have  the  same  disposition  as  others,  and  that  time  and  the 
air  will  abate  the  uneasiness  I  at  present  endure.  I  think  you 
borrowed  from  me  what  you  say  about  the  passion  of  separa- 
ting ourselves  from  each  other  ;  it  might  be  supposed  that  we 
thought  ourselves  too  near  neighbors,  and  that  after  mature 
deliberation  it  had  been  resolved  on  both  sides  to  make  a  vol- 
untary removal  of  three  hundred  leagues  further  asunder. 
You  see  I  in  a  manner  copy  your  own  letter ;  the  reason  is, 
that  you  have  given  so  agreeable  a  turn  to  my  idea,  that  Itake 
pleasure  in  repeating  it.  I  hope  at  last,  the  sea  will  set  bounds 
to  our  passion,  and  that  after  having  retired,  each  to  a  certain 
distance,  we  shall  return  back,  and  advance  toward  each  other 
as  fast  as  we  have  receded.  It  is  certain  that  for  two  persons 
who  seek  each  other's  company,  and  delight  in  being  together, 
we  have  had  the  most  singular  destiny.  Whoever  were  to  seek 
to  destroy  my  faith  in  Providence,  would  deprive  me  of  my 
only  comfort ;  and  if  I  thought  it  was  in  our  own  power  to 
settle  or  unsettle,  to  do  or  undo,  to  will  one  thing  or  another, 
I  should  never  have  a  moment's  peace.  The  Creator  of  the 
universe  must  be  with  me  the  director  of  every  event  that  hap- 
pens ;  and  when  I  look  to  him  as  the  cause,  I  blame  no  one, 
and  submit  with  humility,  though  not  without  inexpressible 

*  A  celebrated  ladies'  shoemaker  at  Paris. 

220  LETTERS    TO 

grief  of  heart ;  at  the  same  time  I  put  my  trust  in  Him,  that 
He  will  again  bring  us  together  as  he  has  done  before. 


The  Rocks,  Friday,  May  31,  1680. 

Notwithstanding  this  letter  will  not  go  till  Sunday,  I  am  re- 
solved to  begin  it  to-day,  that  I  may  date  once  more  in  the 
month  of  May.  I  fear  that  of  June  will  appear  still  longer  to 
me.  I  am  certain,  however,  of  not  seeing  so  fine  a  country  as 
the  one  I  have  left.  There  is  a  month  in  the  year  in  which  it 
rains  every  day ;  this  is  owing  to  your  prayers ;  why  will  you 
not  leave  Providence  a  little  to  itself  ?  sometimes  too  much 
rain,  sometimes  too  great  drought ;  you  are  never  contented. 
God  forgive  me  !  but  this  puts  me  in  mind  of  the  story  of  Ju- 
piter in  Lucian,  who  is  so  wearied  with  the  incessant  importu- 
nities of  mortals,  that  he  sends  Mercury  to  inquire  into  the 
matter,  and,  at  the  same  time,  orders  ten  thousand  bushels  of 
hail  to  fall  upon  Egypt,  to  stop  their  mouths. 

I  will  no  longer  oblige  you  to  answer  me  on  the  subject  of 
the  Divine  Providence,  which  I  so  greatly  revere ;  and  which, 
in  my  opinion,  commands  and  orders  every  thing  in  the  world. 
I  am  persuaded  you  will  not  dare  to  treat  this  opinion  as  an 
inconceivable  mystery,  with  the  disciples  of  your  Father  Des- 
cartes ;  it  would  be  indeed  inconceivable,  that  God  should  have 
made  the  world,  and  not  direct  all  that  passes  in  it.  Those 
who  make  such  fine  restrictions  and  contradistinctions  in  their 
writings,  speak  much  more  freely,  and  with  greater  truth  on 
the  subject,  when  they  have  no  crooked  policy  to  govern  them. 
These  cutpurses  are  very  agreeable  in  their  conversation.  I 
shall  not  mention  their  names,  because  I  fancy  you  guess  the 
principal  one :  the  others  are  the  Abbe  du  Pile,  and  M.  Du- 
bois,* whom  you  are  acquainted  with,  and  who  has  an  infinite 

*  Dubois,  of  the  French  Academy,  who  translated  several  works  of 
Cicero  and  Saint  Augustin. 

MADAME     DE     GRIGNAN.  221 

share  of  wit.  Poor  Nicole  is  still  in  the  Ardennes  *  and  M. 
Arnauld  buried  under  ground,  like  a  mole.f  But  whither  is 
my  pen  running  ?  This  is  not  what  I  meant  to  say  to  you. 
I  intended  to  tell  you  that  I  received  your  letters  at  the  place 
where  we  dined  the  day  I  left  Nantes,  and  that,  having  no 
other  means  of  conversing  with  you  at  so  great  a  distance, 
the  reading  of  them  forms  an  occupation  preferable  to  every 

We  found  the  roads  greatly  improved  between  Nantes  and 
Rennes,  thanks  to  the  care  of  M.  de  Chaulnes  ;  but  the  inces- 
sant rains  we  have  had  of  late  have  made  them  as  if  two  win- 
ters had  followed  close  upon  each  other.  We  were  continually 
in  sloughs,  or  rivers  of  water ;  we  did  not  dare  to  cross  over 
by  Chateaubriant,  for  fear  of  being  unable  to  get  further.  We 
arrived  at  Rennes  on  Ascension  eve,  and  dear  good  Marbeuf 
was  ready  to  devour  me  ;  nothing  would  satisfy  her,  but  my 
taking  up  my  abode  for  a  time  at  her  house,  but  I  refused  ;  I 
would  neither  sup  nor  sleep  there  :  the  next  day  she  gave  me 
a  very  elegant  public  breakfast,  when  the  governor,  and  every 
person  of  note  in  the  town,  came  to  visit  me.  We  set  out 
again  at  ten  o'clock,  though  every  body  assured  me,  that  I  had 
time  enough  before  me,  and  that  the  roads  were  like  this  room; 
for  that,  you  know,  is  the  usual  comparison :  however,  we 
found  them  so  much  like  this  room,  that  we  did  not  get  there 
till  after  midnight,  and  were  all  the  way  up  to  the  axle-trees 
in  water,  and  from  Vitre  to  this  place,  a  road  I  have  passed  a 
thousand  and  a  thousand  times,  it  was  impossible  to  know  it 
again  ;  the  causeways  are  become  impassable ;  the  ruts  are  sunk 
to  a  frightful  depth ;  the  little  inequalities  are  perfect  mount- 

*  The  forest  of  Ardennes,  in  the  Low  Countries. 

f  After  the  death  of  Madame  de  Longueville,  these  able  writers, 
fearing  persecution,  left  France.  Arnauld  retired  into  the  Low  Coun- 
tries, where  he  lived  long  unknown  and  in  poverty.  He  remained 
there  till  his  death.  Nicole,  more  conciliating  and  less  dreaded,  re- 
turned to  France.  He  figured  in  the  quarrel  of  Bossuet  and  Fenelon, 
He  supposed  the  former,  but  with  prudence  and  moderation. 

222  LETTERS     TO 

ains  and  caverns  ;  in  a  word,  finding  that  we  could  no  longer 
find  our  way,  we  sent  to  Pilois  for  help ;  he  came  accordingly- 
bringing  with  him  about  a  dozen  stout  country-fellows,  some 
of  whom  held  up  the  carriage,  while  others  went  before  with 
wisps  of  lighted  straw ;  and  all  spoke  such  jargon,  that  we 
were  ready  to  die  with  laughing;  at  length,  thus  attended,  we 
arrived  here,  our  horses  jaded,  our  people  dripping,  our  car- 
riage almost  broken  down,  and  ourselves  tolerably  fatigued ; 
we  made  a  very  light  supper,  went  to  bed,  slept  heartily,  and 
this  morning,  when  we  awoke,  we  found  ourselves  safe  and 
sound  at  the  Rocks,  though  very  much  out  of  sorts.  I  had 
taken  the  precaution  to  send  a  servant  before  us,  that  we  might 
not  come  into  the  midst  of  a  dust  of  four  years  standing ;  and 
we  are  tolerably  decent  at  least.  We  have  been  entertained 
with  a  great  number  of  visitors  from  Vitre,  such  as  the  Recol- 
lets,  Mademoiselle  du  Plessis,  still  in  tears  for  her  mother,  etc. 
etc.,  but  I  had  not  a  moment's  comfort  till  I  had  got  rid  of 
them  all,  which  was  about  six  o'clock  in  the  evening,  and  had 
spent  a  little  time  in  my  woods,  with  honest  Pilois.  The 
walks  and  alleys  are  really  enchanting;  there  are  half  a 
dozen  new  ones  you  have  never  seen.  By  the  by,  be  under 
no  apprehension  about  my  exposing  myself  to  the  damps ;  I 
know  it  would  make  you  angry  if  I  did,  and  that  is  sufficient 
to  deter  me. 

You  always  tell#me  that  you  are  in  good  health,  and  so  does 
Montgobert ;  and  yet  I  can  not  help  thinking  that  the  plan 
of  plunging  twice  a  day  into  the  Rhone  can  only  suit  a  person 
whose  blood  is  violently  heated.  I  entreat  you,  my  child,  to 
consult  a  very  grave  and  learned  author  in  regard  to  the  ef- 
fects bathing  may  have  on  your  lungs :  you  know  I  was  wit- 
ness to  the  evident  injury  you  sustained  from  your  half-baths, 
though  they  were  advised  by  Fagon.* 

You  must  certainly  have  stood  in  need  of  all  your  strength 
to  support  the  numerous  visitors  you  have  had  ;  twenty  per- 
sons extraordinary  at  table  makes  me  start  a  little.     These  are 

*  First  physician  to  Louis  XIV. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  223 

whole  retinues,  as  Corbinelli  used  to  call  them,  when  he  found 
aimself  so  crowded  in  your  drawing-room,  and  neither  saluted 
aor  took  notice  of  any  one ;  it  must  be  owned  that  your  house 
ts  the  most  frequented  of  any  in  the  country ;  this  is  living  at 
rack  and  manger.  Do  you  remember  when  we  had  all  the 
Fouesnels  here,  with  what  impatience  we  waited  for  the  happy 
minute  when  they  were  to  take  their  leave ;  how  cheerfully  we 
bid  them  adieu  in  our  hearts,  and  how  terrified  we  were  lest 
they  should  yield  to  the  false  entreaties  we  made  them  to 
stay ;  how  our  hearts  bounded  when  we  saw  them  fairly  gone ; 
and  our  reflections  how  much  bad  company  was  preferable  to 
good,  the  latter  occasioning  pain  when  they  leave  us,  whereas 
the  departure  of  the  other  takes  a  wTeight  from  the  mind,  and 
restores  it  to  freedom  ?  do  you  remember  all  this,  and  how 
perfectly  we  enjoyed  ourselves  upon  the  occasion  ? 

Madame  de  Ooulanges  writes  me  word  that  Madame  de 
Maintenon  has  lost  a  cane  to  the  dauphin ;  Madame  de  Cou- 
langes  has  ordered  it  to  be  made.  The  head  is  a  pomegranate 
of  gold,  studded  with  rubies ;  it  opens  and  discovers  the  mini- 
ature picture  of  the  dauphiness,  with  these  words  underneath, 
II  piu  grato  nasconde.*  Clement  formerly  made  this  device 
for  you ;  but  that  which  seemed  an  exaggeration  when  applied 
to  you,  is  perfectly  true  with  regard  to  this  princess.  The* 
beautiful  Fontanges  still  continues  very  ill.  My  son  tells  me 
they  pass  their  time  very  pleasantly  at  Fontainebleau.  Cor- 
neille's  comedies  are  the  delight  of  the  whole  court ;  I  have 
written  to  my  son  that  it  must  be  a  great  pleasure  to  be 
obliged  to  be  there,  to  have  a  master,  a  place,  and  the  favor 
of  the  great ;  and  had  it  been  my  case  I  should  have  been  ex- 
tremely fond  of  that  part  of  the  world  ;  that  the  contrary  was 
the  sole  reason  of  my  removing  to  such  a  distance  from  it ; 
that  this  kind  of  contempt  was,  in  fact,  the  result  of  disap- 
pointment and  vexation,  and  that  /  abused  it  out  of  pure  re- 
venge, as  Montaigne  says  of  youth ;  in  short,  that  I  wondered 
how  he  could  prefer  passing  his  time  as  I  do,  with  Madame  du 

*  The  greatest  charms  are  concealed. 

224  LETTERS    TO 

Plessis  and  Mademoiselle  de  Launay,  to  spending  it  in  the 
midst  of  all  that  is  gay  and  great. 

What  I  say  for  myself,  my  child,  I  say  in  reality  for  you ; 
for  do  not  imagine,  if  M.  de  Grignan  and  you  were  situated 
agreeably  to  your  merit,  that  you  would  have  any  dislike  to 
such  a  life  ;  but  it  does  not  please  Providence  that  you  should 
arrive  at  more  greatness  than  you  at  present  possess.  As  to 
myself,  I  have  seen  the  day  when  little,  very  little,  was  wanting 
for  fortune  to  have  placed  me  in  the  most  agreeable  situation 
in  the  world ;  when,  all  of  a  sudden,  the  scene  changed  to  im- 
prisonment and  exile.*  Do  you  think  my  fortune  has  been  the 
happiest  in  the  world  ?  yet  I  am  content ;  or,  if  I  have  my 
moments  of  murmuring,  it  is  not  on  my  own  account. 

Your  description  of  Madame  D.'s  conduct  is  very  amusing ; 
it  is  a  sort  of  economy  in  love,  worthy  of  Armida.  You  seem 
to  believe  that  M.  de  Rouille  will  not  return ;  I  am  sorry  for 
it,  and  I  should  be  still  more  so  were  it  not  that  I  believe  your 
stay  in  Provence  almost  at  an  end,  and  consequently  that  you 
can  have  little  occasion  for  him.  If  any  thing  is  to  be  done 
in  the  assembly,  the  coadjutor  will  give  a  good  account  of  it, 
in  the  absence  of  M.  de  Grignan. 


The  Rocks,  "Wednesday,  June  5,  1680. 
At  length  I  have  the  pleasure,  at  this  immense  distance 
from  each  other,  to  receive  your  letters  on  the  ninth  day  after 
they  are  written,  with  the  prospect  of  happier  times  before 
me.  I  often  admire  the  great  kindness  and  civility  of  those 
gentlemen  of  whom  the  author   of  Moral  Essays  speaks  so« 

*  Madame  de  Sevigne  alludes  to  the  banishment  of  M.  de  Bussy,  the 
chief  of  her  house,  and  the  confinement  of  M.  de  Fouquet,  her  inti- 
mate friend.  To  which  may  be  added,  the  exile  of  the  Arnaulds,  and, 
further  back  still,  the  misfortunes  of  Cardinal  de  Retz,  her  relation  and 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  225 

humorously,  and  to  whom  we  are  so  much  indebted.  What  do 
they  not  do  for  us  ?  To  what  offices  do  they  not  submit,  to 
be  useful  to  us  ?  Some  run  four  or  five  hundred  miles  to  carry 
our  letters ;  others,  at  the  hazard  of  their  necks,  climb  to  the 
tops  of  our  houses,  to  prevent  our  being  incommoded  by  the 
rains ;  and  others  suffer  still  more.  In  short,  this  is  an  ar- 
rangement of  Providence ;  and  the  thought  of  gain,  which  is 
in  itself  an  evil,  becomes  converted  into  a  source  of  good. 

I  have  brought  a  number  of  the  best  authors  with  me, 
which  I  have  been  arranging  this  morning.  There  is  no  look- 
ing into  them,  whichever  it  may  be,  without  a  desire  to  read 
it  through.  Some  are  religious  tracts  that  do  honor  to  the 
faith  they  maintain ;  others  books  of  history,  the  best  of  their 
kind ;  besides  ethics,  poety,  novels,  and  memoirs.  The  ro- 
mances are  in  disgrace,  and  banished  to  a  by-closet.  "When 
I  enter  this  little  library  I  wonder  how  I  am  able  to  leave  it 
again.  In  short,  my  child,  it  is  altogether  worthy  of  your 
presence,  and  so  are  my  walks ;  but,  for  the  company,  it  is 
very  far  from  being  so.  There  is  strange  skimming  of  the 
pot  on  Sundays  :*  one  good  thing,  however,  is,  that  they  sup 
at  six  o'clock,  and  leave  me  to  fly  to  my  lawns  and  groves  for 
relief.  Madame  du  Plessis,  in  her  deep  mourning,  never  quits 
me.  I  could  well  say  of  her  mother  as  of  M.  de  Bonneuil, 
she  has  left  a  very  ridiculous  daughter  behind  her  :  she  is  so 
impertinent  too.  I  am  really  ashamed  of  her  regard  for  me, 
and  I  sometimes  say  to  myself,  Is  it  possible  there  can  be  any 
sympathy  between  her  and  me  ?  She  talks  incessantly ;  but 
by  the  grace  of  God,  I  am  to  her,  as  you  are  to  many  others, 
absolutely  dead  ;  I  do  not  hear  three  words  she  says.  She  is 
at  daggers  drawn  with  all  her  family  about  her  mother's  will : 
this  is  a  new  embellishment  to  the  former  beauties  of  her 
mind  :  she  confounds  the  meaning  of  every  thing  she  says ; 

*  On  account  of  the  number  of  visitors,  which  was  always  greatest 
on  Sundays,  and  to  whom  Madame  de  Sevigne  thought  herself  obliged 
to  do  the  honors  of  her  house,  which  she  humorously  called  skimming 
her  pot 


226  LETTERS     TO 

and  when  she  is  complaining  of  the  ill-treatment  she  receives, 
she  cries,  They  have  used  me  like  a  barbarity,  like  a  cruelty. 
You  will  have  me  entertain  you  with  such  trash,  and  now  I 
hope  you  have  enough  for  a  time. 

My  letters  are  of  such  an  enormous  length  that  you  ought, 
according  to  your  rule,  to  make  yours  to  me  very  short,  and 
leave  all  the  rest  to  Montgobert.  Health  is  at  all  times  a  real 
and  intrinsic  treasure,  that  will  serve  us  on  every  exigency. 
Madame  de  Coulanges  has  written  me  a  thousand  trifles,  that 
I  would  communicate  to  you,  but  that  I  think  it  would  be  ab- 
solutely ridiculous.  The  favor  of  her  female  friend  (Madame 
de  Maintenon)  still  continues.  The  queen  accuses  her  of  the 
cause  of  the  distance  between  her  and  the  dauphiness.  The 
king  comforts  her  for  this  disgrace  :  she  visits  him  every  day, 
and  their  conversations  are  of  a  length  that  surprises  every 
body,  and  gives  occasion  to  numberless  conjectures. 

I  consider  futurity  as  a  dark  road,  in  which  the  traveler 
may  find  light  and  accommodation  when  he  least  thinks  of  it. 

M.  de  Lavardin  is  going  to  be  married*  in  good  earnest ; 
and  Madame  de  Moucif  is  said  to  be  the  person  who  in- 
spires Madame  de  Lavardin  with  the  idea  of  doing  every 
thing  that  can  prove  advantageous  to  her  son.  This  De  Mouci 
must  certainly  have  a  most  extraordinary  soul.  Young  Molac 
is  to  marry  the  Duchess  of  Fontanges's  sister ;  the  king  gives 
him  to  the  value  of  400,000  francs  with  her. 

How  just  is  your  observation  upon  the  death  of  M.  de  la 
Rochefoucault  and  so  many  other  friends  !  "  The  ranks  close, 
and  he  is  seen  no  more."  It  is  certain  that  Madame  de  la 
Fayette  is  overwhelmed  with  grief,  and  can  not  feel,  as  she 
would  have  done  at  another  time,  the  good  fortune  of  her  son. 
The  dauphiness  was  particular  in  her  attentions  to  her :  the 
Princess  of  Savoy  has  spoken  of  her  as  her  best  friend. 

*  To  Louise-Anne  de  Noailles,  sister  to  Anne  Julius  Duke  of  JSToailles, 
and  Marshal  of  France. 

+  Marie  de  Harlaie,  sister  to  Achilles  de  Harlaie,  at  that  time  attor 
ney-general,  and  afterward  first  president  of  the  parliament  of  Paris. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  227 

I  am  very  glad  my  letter  pleased  M.  de  Grignan :  I  spoke 
my  mind  with  great  sincerity.  He  must  divest  himself  of  all 
those  ruinous  whims,  which  take  their  turns  with  him  by  the 
quarter.  They  must  not  merely  sleep,  like  the  nobility  of 
Lower  Brittany,  but  be  altogether  extinct. 

Adieu,  my  beloved  child ;  I  admire  and  love  your  letters, 
and  yet  I  will  have  no  more  of  them ;  cut  short,  and  leave 
Montgobert  to  prattle  in  your  stead.  I  will  try  to  take  from 
you  the  desire  of  writing  much  :  by  the  length  of  my  letters 
you  shall  find  them  beyond  your  strength  to  answer,  which  is 
just  what  I  wish ;  so  shall  I  be  a  shield  to  you.  I  am  of 
opinion  that  you  have  a  numerous  correspondence  upon  your 
hands,  say  what  you  will ;  for  my  part,  I  only  stand  upon  the 
defensive  in  my  answers,  I  never  begin  the  attack  ;  but  then, 
even  these  seem  of  such  a  bulk,  that,  on  post-days,  when  I  re- 
tire to  my  chamber  at  night,  and  see  my  writing-desk,  I  am 
ready  to  run  under  the  bed  to  hide  myself,  like  our  late  mad' 
ame's  little  dog,  whenever  it  saw  a  book. 


The  Rocks,  Wednesday,  June  12,  1680. 
So,  I  have  written  a  sermon  without  thinking  of  it !  I  am 
as  much  surprised  at  this  as  the  Count  de  Soissons,*  when  he 
was  told  he  had  made  prose.  It  is  true,  I  feel  myself  disposed 
to  do  all  honor  to  the  grace  of  Christ.  I  do  not  cry  out,  as 
the  queen-mother  did  in  the  excess  of  her  zeal  against  those 
vile  Jansenists,  "  Ah !  ^e,  fie  upon  grace  !"  I  say  the  contrary, 
and  can  bring  good  vouchers  for  it.  Since  you  have  imparted 
to  me  your  visions,  with  regard  to  the  fortunes  of  your  broth- 
ers-in-law, I  will  tell  you  sincerely  that  I  was  afraid  the  air 
of  a  house,  where  saving  grace  was  sometimes  talked  of,  might 

*  It  is  singular  that  Moliere  should  have  found  in  a  nobleman  the 
most  laughable  instances  of  ignorance,  with  which  he  endows  his 
Bourgeois  Gentilhomme. 

228  LETTERS    TO 

have  injured  the  Abbe  de  Grignan.  Thank  heaven,  I  have 
done  no  more  harm  than  yourself ;  and  if  I  am  silent  for  the 
future,  as  I  ought,  and  certainly  shall  be,  it  will  not  be  from 
the  fear  of  injuring  any  one.  Your  young  bishops  are  seldom 
suspected  of  this  heresy.  I  have  just  been  writing  to  the 
chevalier :  he  has  absolutely  forgotten  me,  and  as  he  is  not 
infected  with  the  Grignan  indolence,  it  may  be  a  serious  busi- 

Your  great  building,  my  dear,  is  begun  to-day ;  Du  But 
will  do  all  he  can  to  hasten  the  workmen.  There  was  no  pos- 
sibility of  commencing  sooner,  and  there  is  time  enough  to 
complete  every  thing.  I  send  you  a  letter  of  Madame  de  La- 
vardin's,  by  which  you  will  see  what  are  her  sentiments.  I 
am  almost  tempted  to  send  you  likewise  a  very  long  letter  I 
have  received  from  Madame  de  Mouci,  in  which  she  takes 
pleasure  in  acquainting  me  with  every  thing  she  has  done 
relatively  to  this  marriage ;  she  has  made  choice  of  me,  in 
preference  to  any  other  person,  to  communicate  the  whole  of 
his  conduct  to.  She  is  in  the  right ;  the  second  volume  is 
Worthy  the  admiration  of  any  one  who  had  read  the  first. 
She  seems  happy  in  taking  every  opportunity  of  loading  M. 
de  Lavardin  with  favors,  by  means  of  the  influence  she  has 
over  his  mother.  She  has  made  her  give  a  thousand  pounds 
worth  of  pearls ;  she  has  made  her  give  all  the  fire-irons, 
stoves,  candlesticks,  tables,  and  silver  waiters,  that  were  worth 
having ;  handsome  tapestry,  fine  old  furniture,  with  linen  and 
dressing  gowns,  which  Madame  de  Mouci  selected  herself. 
Her  heart  takes  this  method  of  avenging  itself;  but  for  her  it 
would  have  been  a  mere  village  wedding.  She  has  made  her 
give  considerable  estates  to  her  son,  and,  to  crown  all,  she  will 
manage  so  that  the  new  married  couple  will  not  live  in  the 
same  house  with  the  mother,  whose  overbearing  temper,  and 
rigid  observance  of  hours,  would  by  no  means  suit  the  young 
couple.  Madame  de  Mouci  delights  in  displaying  to  me  the 
liberality  of  her  soul,  and  I  am  amazed  to  see  the  extraordi- 
narv  manner  in  which  she  contributes  to  M.  de  Lavardin's 

MADAME    DE     6BIGNAN.  229 

happiness.  The  desire  of  being  singular,  and  of  distinguishing 
ourselves  by  stepping  a  little  out  of  the  common  road,  seems 
to  me  to  be  the  source  of  many  virtues.  She  writes  me  word 
that  she  should  be  very  happy  if  I  were  at  Paris,  because  I 
should  understand  her ;  no  one  else  being  able  to  comprehend 
what  she  is  doing.  She  adds  besides  that  I  should  die  with 
laughing,  to  see  the  grimaces  Madame  de  Lavardin  makes, 
every  time  the  devil  of  avarice  is  cast  out  of  her  by  the  power 
of  her  exorcisms.  The  poor  lady  seems  perfectly  exhausted, 
like  the  nuns  of  Loudun*  It  must  certainly  be  a  very  comic 

I  have  also  received  some  very  entertaining  letters  from  the 
Marchioness  d'Huxelles.  The  fair  widows  do  wonders.  Ma- 
dame de  Coulanges  assures  me,  that  she  is  to  set  out  on  the 
20th  for  Lyons ;  she  writes  me  a  thousand  trifles.  This  city 
will  become  the  source  of  all  the  private  intelligence  of  the 
court ;  but  do  you  suppose  she  will  communicate  any  of  this 
precious  commodity  to  the  inhabitants  ? 

I  had  a  visit  the  other  day  from  an  Augustin  friar,  a  poor 
creature,  a  very  poor  creature  indeed.  He  assumed  the  airs 
of  a  preacher,  but  I  answered  his  pompous  ignorance  only 
with  a  smile  of  contempt ;  he  still  went  on,  till  at  last  I  was 
strongly  tempted  to  throw  a  book  at  his  head.  I  fancy  Ma- 
dame de  Coulanges  will  be  ready  to  reply  in  the  same  way  to 
the  ladies  of  Lyons.  Young  Coulanges  will  be  with  you ;  he 
has  given  up  M.  de  Chaulnes  and  Brittany  for  Lyons  and  the 
Grignans.  I  am  quite  of  his  opinion,  my  dearest  child,  and 
my  greatest  joy  would  be  to  make  one  of  your  party.     Ah ! 

*  Alluding  to  the  Histoire  des  Diables  de  Loiodun,  History  of  the 
Devils  of  Loudun.  It  is  well  known  that  the  fierce  hatred  of  Cardinal 
de  Richelieu,  the  maneuvers  of  the  Capuchin  Joseph,  and  the  cruelty 
of  the  judge,  Laubardement,  caused  the  unfortunate  cure  Urbain  Grand- 
ier  to  perish  in  the  flames,  as  convicted  of  the  crime  of  magic,  "  upon 
the  deposition  of  Ashtaroth,  devil  of  the  order  of  Seraphims,  and  chief 
of  the  possessing  devils,  and  Eusas,  Cham,  Acaos,  Zebulan,  Nephthaim, 
Uriel,  and  Acas,  of  the  order  of  the  principalities."  These  are  the 
terms  of  the  sentence. 

230  •  LETTERS    TO 

how  I  should  like  to  sup  in  your  delightful  grotto !  How 
pleased  I  should  be  with  M.  de  Grignan's  music,  and  those 
beautiful  passages  in  the  opera,  which  have  often  made  my 
eyes  glisten.  Oh  !  it  would  be  a  charming  party.  Your 
house  is  a  little  town.  Really,  to  reflect  upon  our  situations 
and  dispositions,  it  might  be  supposed  some  magic  change  had 
been  wrought  upon  us.  And  yet,  to  the  honor  of  both,  you 
fill  your  exalted  station  admirably,  and  shine  as  in  your  proper 
sphere ;  while  I  and  my  humble  fortune  seem  fitted  for  the 
woods,  and  the  solitude  I  inhabit.  The  truth  is,  I  am  as- 
sured from  whence  all  this  comes ;  it  is  necessary  to  raise  our 
reyes  to  Heaven,  after  having  long  kept  them  fixed  upon  the  earth. 
The  other  evening  one  of  my  people  told  me,  "  that  it  was 
very  warm  in  the  mall ;  that  there  was  not  a  breath  of  air 
stirring,  and  that  the  moon  shone  with  the  finest  effect 
imaginable."  I  could  not  resist  the  temptation,  so  on  I  put 
bonnets,  cloaks,  capuchins,  and  all  the  needless  defenses  you 
could  wish ;  and  forth  I  sallied  to  the  mall,  where  the  air 
was  as  mild  as  in  my  own  room.  I  found  there  a  thousand 
fantastic  illusions  of  the  night,  black  and  white  friars,  linen 
scattered  here  and  there,  black  men  in  one  place,  others  buried 
upright  against  trees,  little  dwarfs  who  just  showed  their  heads 
and  concealed  the  rest  of  their  bodies,  priests  who  dared  not 
approach  me,  etc.,  etc.  After  having  laughed  heartily  at  all 
these  figures,  and  fully  convinced  ourselves  of  the  true  origin 
of  what  are  called  spirits,  apparitions,  that  play  their  farces  in 
the  theater  of  our  imaginations,  we  returned  to  the  house 
without  sitting  down,  or  feeling  the  lest  dew.  I  beg  your  par- 
don, my  dear  child,  but  I  thought  myself  obliged,  after  the 
example  of  the  ancients,  as  the  foolish  fellow  we  met  in  the 
gardens  at  Livri  used  to  say,  to  show  this  mark  of  respect  to 
the  moon  ;  I  assure  you  I  have  sustained  no  injury  from  it.  { 
There  has  fallen  to  me,  out  of  the  clouds,  one  of  the  pret- 
tiest calambour*  chaplets  in  the  world ;  this  is  doubtless  be- 
cause I  tell  my  beads  so  well.     The  best  ball  to  the  best 

*  Calembour,  calamlouc,  or  calambac.  are  knots  of  the  aloe-tree  round 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNiN,  231 

player,  you  know.  This  chaplet  has  a  cross  of  diamonds 
hanging  to  it,  with  a  death's  head  of  coral ;  I  have  certainly 
seen  that  vile  face  somewhere.  Tell  me,  I  beseech  you,  how  it 
found  its  way  to  me  at  such  a  distance  ?  In  the  mean  time,  I 
shall  not  tell  my  beads  without  considerable  musings  ;  I  am 
of  opinion  that  it  will  occasion  greater  distractions.  I  wait 
your  answer  on  this  subject. 

Have  you  heard  the  story  of  Madame  de  Saint-Pouanges  ? 
They  concealed  it  a  long  time  from  me,  lest  it  should  prevent 
me  from  returning  to  Paris  in  a  carriage.  This  lady  was 
going  to  Fontainebleau,  for  we  should  let  no  advantage  slip, 
where  she  pretended  she  should  be  highly  entertained ;  she 
had  a  very  pretty  place  at  court,  was  young,  and  had  a  taste 
for  all  the  pleasures  suitable  to  her  years ;  she  adopted  the 
fashionable  mode  of  setting  out  at  six  o'clock  in  the  evening, 
and  driving  post,  so  as  to  get  in  about  midnight.  But,  listen 
to  the  consequences :  her  carriage  was  overturned  by  the  way, 
a  piece  of  broken  glass  pierced  through  her  stays  into  her 
body,  and  she  died  of  the  wound.  They  write  me  word  from 
Paris  that  she  lost  her  reason,  between  the  pain  the  surgeons 
gave  her  and  the  mortification  of  dying  in  the  bloom  of  youth. 
Is  not  this  a  curious  adventure  ?  If  you  know  it  already,  it 
will  be  ridiculous  to  tell  it  you  a  second  time ;  but  it  has 
made  a  strange  impression  on  my  brain.  It  seems  Madame 
de  Nevers*  has  made  one,  on  the  greatest  head  in  the  world, 
and  has  turned  another  smaller  one  quite  topsy-turvy  ;  but  I 
do  not  find  that  this  has  been  attended  with  any  serious  con- 

which  the  resin  collects  and  hardens  by  incorporation.  This  calembouc 
neld  to  the  fire  emits  a  fine  perfume.  The  aloe-tree  grows  in  the  woods 
of  Coch in-China. 

*  Madame  de  Nevers,  the  daughter  of  Madame  de  Thianges,  was  a 
perfect  beauty.  The  greatest  head  is  the  king ;  but  it  was  not  true  that 
he  had  designs  upon  her,  as  it  was  said  she  had  upon  him.  The  .  ther 
smaller  head  was  the  duke,  the  son  of  the  great  Conde,  who  was  really 
very  much  in  love  with  her. 

232  LETTERS    TO 

The  king  took  the  sacrament  on  Whitsunday.  Madame  de 
Fontange's  influence  still  continues  brilliant  and  solid ;  but 
what  are  we  to  think  of  this  friendship  ?  I  have  received  a 
letter  from  M.  Pomponne,  in  the  midst  of  his  retirement,  of 
which  I  am  more  proud  than  if  it  had  been  from  amid  all  the 
splendor  of  St.  Germain.  It  is  there  he  is  again  become  as 
perfect  as  at  Frene.  Ah !  how  excellent  a  use  does  he  make 
of  hi3  disgrace,  and  what  charming  company  he  is  in  1 


The  Rocks,  Saturday,  June  15,  1680. 

I  shall  make  no  answer  to  what  you  say  of  my  letters.  I 
am  extremely  happy  that  they  please  you ;  had  you  not  told 
me  so  I  should  have  thought  them  unbearable.  I  never  can 
muster  up  courage  enough  to  read  one  of  them  through,  and 
I  often  say  to  myself,  Good  heavens !  with  what  nonsense  do  I 
pester  my  poor  child  !  Sometimes  I  even  repent  having  writ- 
ten so  much,  lest  I  should  lay  you  under  a  sort  of  obligation 
to  answer  me  in  the  same  way ;  but  let  me  entreat  you,  my 
child,  to  indulge  me  in  the  pleasure  of  chatting  to  you  with- 
out putting  yourself  to  the  trouble  of  answering.  Your  last 
letter  exceeded  all  the  bounds  of  prudence  and  the  care  you 
ought  to  take  of  your  health. 

You  are  too  good  in  wishing  me  more  society ;  but,  in  fact, 
I  do  not  want  it.  I  am  accustomed  to  solitude.  I  have  my 
workmen  to  amuse  me,  and  the  good  abbe  has  his  likewise. 
His  taste  for  buildings  and  alterations  gets  the  better  of  his 
prudence.  It  does  not  cost  him  much,  indeed,  but  it  would 
cost  him  still  less  to  let  it  alone. 

All  my  delight  is  in  my  wood  :  it  is  impossible  to  describe 
how  beautiful  it  is.  I  often  walk  there  with  my  cane  and 
Louison,  which  is  all  I  desire.  In  my  closet  I  find  such  agree- 
able company  that  I  often  say  to  myself,  This  is  worthy  my 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  233 

daughter ;  she  could  not  here  lay  her  hand  amiss  upon  a  book, 
there  is  hardly  room  left  for  choice.  I  have  taken  up  Les  Con- 
versations Chretiennes  (Christian  Dialogues).  They  are  written 
by  an  honest  Cartesian,  who  seems  to  have  all  your  Recherche 
de  la  Verite  (Inquiry  after  Truth,  by  heart) ;  which  treats  of 
that  philosophy,  and  of  the  supreme  power  of  God  over  his 
creatures,  who,  as  St.  Paul  says,  "  live,  move,  and  have  their 
being,"  in  Him  alone,  and  by  him  know  all  things.  I  will  let 
you  know  if  this  book  is  within  my  comprehension,  if  not,  I 
shall  quit  it  it  with  all  humility,  renouncing  the  foolish  vanity 
of  appearing  wise  when  I  am  not  so.  I  assure  you  I  think 
like  our  brothers ;  and  were  I  to  express  myself  in  print,  I 
should  say  so.  I  know  the  difference  between  the  language 
of  policy  and  that  of  the  heart.  God  is  omnipotent,  and  does 
what  he  pleases ;  that  I  understand.  He  wants  our  hearts, 
and  we  will  not  give  them  to  him ;  there  lies  the  mystery. 
But  do  not  discover  that  of  our  sisters  of  Saint-Marie :  they 
write  me  word  that  they  are  charmed  with  the  book  I  lent 

You  remind  me  of  the  foolish  answer  I  made  to  excuse  my- 
self from  going  to  Madame  de  Bret***,f  u  that  I  had  but  one 
son."  This  made  your  bishops  start.  I  thought  that  it  had 
been  merely  my  heretical  air,  I  mentioned  it  to  you  the  other 
day.  I  think,  however,  there  appeared  something  strange  in 
the  expression.  Heaven  be  praised,  my  dear  countess,  we  have 
done  no  harm ;  your  brothers  could  not  be  better  provided  foi 
than  at  present,  even  had  we  been  Mollnists.  Probable  opin- 
ions, and  the  direction  of  purposes,  would  not  have  been  more 
advantageous  to  them  in  the  Hotel  de  Carnava^et  than  the 
libertinism  of  our  conversations.  I  am  delighted  at  it,  and 
have  often  thought  how  unjustly  we  might  have  suffered  on 
this  occasion. 

*  See  Letter,  May  25. 

f  Apparently,  Madame  de  Bretonvilliers,  whom  the  Memoirs  of  the 
times  represent  as  the  over-officious  friend  of  the  Archbishop  ot  Paris 
De  Harlai,  who  was  not  so  timid  a  priest  as  he  was  a  rigid  Molinist. 

234  LETTERS    TO 

I  can  make  nothing  of  the  affair  of  M.  de  la  Trousse  or 
Madame  d'Epinoi,  or  of  the  servant  who  robbed  them.  I  will 
endeavor  to  get  information  on  this  subject,  and  will  send  you 
the  letters.  You  find  that  poor  Madame  de  Lavardin  is  quite 
unhappy.  Who  would  have  supposed  that  she  would  have 
been  otherwise  than  rejoiced  at  her  son's  being  married?* 
But  I  speak  like  a  fool.  It  should  be  our  invariable  maxim, 
that  human  nature  can  never  be  happy.  Young  Chiverni 
seems  to  be  as  much  so  as  any  one :  you  see  how  he  has  ex- 
tricated himself  from  his  misery.  Your  poor  brother,  indeed, 
seems  fated  never  to  be  happy  in  this  world ;  as  to  the  other 
world,  if  we  may  judge  by  appearances,  I  see  no  probability 
of  his  being  in  the  right  road.  The  Bishop  of  Chalons  is 
certainly  in  heaven,  for  he  was  a  devout  prelate  and  a  virtuous 
man.     You  see  all  our  friends  are  lost  to  us  one  after  another. 

I  wrote  the  other  day  to  Madame  de  Vins  that  I  would 
leave  her  to  guess  what  sort  of  virtue  I  practiced  most  here  ; 
and  informed  her  it  was  liberality.  It  is  certain  that  I  have 
given  away  very  considerable  sums  since  my  arrival ;  eight 
hundred  francs  one  morning,  one  thousand  another,  five  hun- 
dred another,  one  day  three  hundred  crowns ;  you  may  think 
I  am  jesting,  but  it  is  too  true.  I  have  farmers  and  millers 
who  owe  me  these  sums,  and  have  not  a  farthing  to  pay  me 
with.  "What  is  to  be  done  in  this  case  %  Why  I  make  a  virtue 
of  necessity,  and  forgive  them  the  debts.  You  will  readily 
believe  that  I  make  no  great  merit  of  this  since  it  is  forced 
liberality ;  but  my  head  was  full  of  it  when  I  wrote  to  Madame 
de  Vins,  and  so  down  it  went  on  the  paper.  I  endeavor  to 
make  the  fines  pay  for  it.  I  have  not  yet  touched  one  of  the 
six  thousand  francs  from  Nantes  ;  money-matters  are  not  soon 
settled.  The  other  day  I  had  a  visit  from  a  pretty  little  wife 
of  a  farmer  of  Bodegat,  with  sparkling  eyes,  fine  person,  and 
smartly  dressed  in  a  holland  gown,  with  ruffled  cuffs,  and  a 
long  train.  Good  heavens  !  thought  I,  when  I  saw  her,  I  am 
ruined  ;  for  you  must  know,  her  husband  owes  me  eight  thou* 

*  See  the  preceding  Letter. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  235 

sand  francs.  M.  de  Grignan  would  certainly  have  fallen  in 
love  with  this  woman ;  she  is  the  very  image  of  one  he  ad- 
mired at  Paris.  This  morning  a  countryman  came  in  with 
bags  on  all  sides,  some  under  his  arms,  some  in  his  pockets, 
and  some  in  his  breeches,  which  he  began  to  untie,  for  in  this 
country  they  dress  in  a  strange  way  ;  the  fashion  of  buttoning 
the  lower  part  of  the  jacket  is  not  yet  introduced  here  ;  they 
are  very  saving  of  the  stuff  of  which  their  breeches  are  com- 
posed, and  from  the  gentry  of  Vitre  down  to  my  clodpole, 
every  thing  is  in  the  highest  state  of  negligence.  The  good 
abbe,  who,  you  know,  loves  the  main  chance,  seeing  the  fellow 
so  loaded,  thought  we  were  rich  forever.  "  Upon  my  word, 
friend,  you  are  bravely  loaded,  how  much  money  do  you  bring 
us  ?"  "  Please  your  reverence,"  answered  the  man,  "  I  think 
there  is  a  matter  of  thirty  francs."  My  dear  child,  I  believe 
all  the  doubles*  in  France  were  collected  to  fill  these  bags.  In 
this  manner  do  they  abuse  our  patience  and  forbearance. 

You  give  me  great  pleasure  by  what  you  say  of  Montgo- 
bert.  I  thought,  indeed,  what  I  wrote  to  you  upon  her  ac- 
count was  superfluous,  and  that  your  excellent  understanding 
would  reconcile  every  thing.  In  this  manner,  my  child,  you 
ought  always  to  act,  in  spite  of  momentary  vexations.  Mont- 
gobert  has  an  excellent  heart,  though  her  temper  is  rather  too 
hasty  and  impetuous ;  I  always  honor  the  goodness  of  her 
heart.  We  are  frequently  obliged  to  bear  with  the  little  de- 
pendencies and  circumstances  of  friendship,  though  they  may 
sometimes  be  disagreeable.  I  shall  some  day  send  her  a  bad 
cause  to  defend  at  Rochecourbiere ;  since  she  has  a  talent  for 
these  things,  it  ought  to  be  exercised.  You  will  have  M.  de 
Coulanges  with  you ;  who  will  be  a  capital  performer.  He 
will  inform  you  of  his  views  and  expectations,  I  know  nothing 
of  them  myself;  he  dreads  solitude  so  much  that  he  will  not 
even  write  to  any  one  who  lives  in  it.  Grignan,  therefore,  is  a 
place  perfectly  qualified  to  charm  him,  as  he  himself  is  to 

*  Small  pieces  of  money,  of  which  about  five  are  equal  to  an  English 

236  LETTERS    TO 

charm  others ;  I  never  met  with  such  delightful  society,  it  is 
the  object  of  all  my  wishes ;  I  think  of  you  all  incessantly ;  I 
read  your  letters  over  and  over  again,  saying  as  at  Livri :  Let 
us  see  what  my  daughter  said  to  me  a  week  or  tien  days  ago ; 
for,  in  short,  it  is  she  who  converses  with  me,  and  I  thus  enjoy 
"  the  ingenious  art  of  painting  language,  and  of  talking  to  the 

You  know  it  is  not  the  retired  groves  at  the  Rocks  that 
make  me  think  of  you ;  I  thought  of  you  as  much  in  the  midst 
of  the  bustle  of  Paris.  You  are  fixed  in  the  center  of  my 
heart ;  every  thing  else  is  transient ;  it  passes  and  is  forgotten. 
I  have  forgotten  even  my  Agnes,  and  yet  she  is  very  amiable ; 
her  wit  has  something  of  the  simplicity  of  the  country  in  it ; 
but  that  of  Madame  de  Tarente  is  still  in  the  high  courtly 
taste.  The  roads  from  hence  to  Vitre  are  grown  so  intolera 
bly  bad,  that  the  king  and  M.  de  Chaulnes  have  ordered  them 
to  be  repaired.  All  the  peasants  of  that  barony  will  be  assem- 
bled there  on  Monday  next. 

Adieu,  my  dearest !  when  I  tell  you  that  my  affection  is  of 
no  use  to  you,  do  you  not  understand  in  what  way  I  mean, 
and  to  what  my  heart  and  imagination  tend  ?  Pray  tell  me 
if  you  intend  to  place  our  little  girl  at  Aix  with  her  aunt,*  and 
to  send  Paulina  away.  The  dear  child  is  a  perfect  prodigy ; 
her  understanding  and  wit  are  a  sufficient  portion  for  her ; 
will  you  then  place  her  on  a  level  with  a  common  person  ?  I 
should  always  take  her  with  me  wherever  I  went,  and  should 
never  think  of  sending  her  to  Aix  with  her  sister.f  In  short, 
I  should  treat  her,  as  she  merits,  extraordinarily. 

*  Marie  Adhemar  de  Monteil,  sister  of  M.  de  G-rignan,  and  one  of 
the  nuns  of  Aubenas,  a  town  and  convent  of  the  Lower  Vivares.  See 
the  letter  of  9th  of  June. 

\  Marie  Blanche,  the  eldest  sister  of  Paulina,  was  in  the  nunnery  of 
St.  Marie  of  Aix,  where  a  short  time  afterward  she  took  the  vaiL 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  237 


The  Rocks,  Sunday,  Sept.  15,  1680. 

What  infinite  obligations  does  my  heart  owe  you,  and  how 
happy  have  you  made  it,  by  permitting  me  to  hope  for  your 
presence  this  winter  !  I  have  read  over  and  over  again  the 
delightful  letter  I  so  fondly  and  impatiently  expected.  I  said 
to  myself,  "  Yes,  this  is  the  voice  of  my  child,  who  assures 
me  she  shall  come  to  Paris  soon  after  All-Saints."  Oh,  how 
great  the  joy  to  have  such  comfortable  assurance  in  my  pos 
session ! 

You  surprise  me  at  the  profound  secrecy  that  our  lovely 
saint  observes  of  her  noble  and  pious  intentions  to  Madame 
du  Janet.  It  is  so  natural  to  talk  of  what  we  ardently  wish, 
of  what  the  heart  is  full  of,  that  it  is  doing  penance  before- 
hand to  keep  silence  on  such  occasions  ;  but  such  is  her  dispo- 
sition ;  she  speaks  on  this  subject  only  to  her  holy  father  alone, 
as  it  is  he  alone  who  is  to  determine  the  duration  of  a  resi- 
dence which  she  would  be  sorry  to  have  protracted.  By  de- 
priving herself  of  the  pleasure  of  communicating  her  inten- 
tions, she  finds  them  more  strongly  confirmed  in  her  breast. 

I  can  not  at  this  distance  discover  what  is  become  of  the 
crowd  that  so  lately  swarmed  in  your  castle.  I  left  you,  I 
thought,  in  the  midst  of  a  fair  ;  but  since  I  now  find  you  re- 
posing on  your  little  bed,  you  must  certainly  have  found  means 
to  escape  from  the  throng.  Montgobert  has  not  written  to 
me,  and  you  mention  your  health  very  slightly ;  you  ought  to 
have  informed  me  whether  the  medicines  you  are  taking  have 
the  desired  effect,  and  whether  this  thinness  upon  thinness  is 
likely  to  reduce  you  to  your  former  state.  It  is  a  sad  misfor- 
tune that  what  does  you  service  in  one  way,  should  injure  you 
in  another ;  it  throws  a  damp  upon  the  satisfaction  we  should 
otherwise  feel.  % 

We  are  at  present  among  a  set  of  persons  with  whom  we 
make  great  use  of  both  our  reason  and  reasoning.    You  know, 

238  LETTERS    TO 

my  child,  what  a  good  hearer  I  am,  thanks  to  God  and  you, 
as  they  say  in  this  country ;  I  have  lost,  by  dint  of  listening 
to  you,  the  gross  ignorance  I  possessed  on  many  subjects ; 
this  is  a  pleasure  I  now  feel  the  advantage  of.  We  have  had 
here  a  party  or  two  at  ombre  and  reversis,  and  the  next  day 
altra  scena  (a  change  of  scene).  M.  de  Montmoron  came, 
you  know  he  has  a  great  deal  of  wit ;  Father  Damaie,  who 
does  not  live  quite  a  hundred  miles  from  this  place  ;  my  son, 
who  you  know  is  perfect  master  of  disputation,  and  Corbi- 
nelli's  letters,  making  four,  and  I  am  audience  for  them ;  they 
entertain  me  exceedingly.  M.  de  Montmoron  perfectly  under- 
stands your  philosophy,  and  controverts  it  stoutly.  My  son 
maintains  the  cause  of  your  father ;  as  also  Damaie ;  and 
Corbinelli,  in  his  letters,  takes  the  same  side  ;  but  they  are  not 
all  more  than  a  match  for  Montmoron.  He  insists  that  we 
can  have  no  ideas  but  what  are  imparted  through  the  medium 
of  the  senses.  My  son  contends  that  we  think  independently 
of  our  senses  ;  for  instance,  we  think  that  we  think  :*  this  is 
in  general  the  subject  of  our  disputations,  which  have  been 
carried  on  with  great  spirit,  and  have  delighted  me  extremely. 
Could  you,  my  child,  have  made  a  party  in  this  conversation, 
by  your  letter,  as  Corbinelli  has  done,  you  would  have 
strengthened  a  little  our  Sevigne.  And  now  I  mention  him, 
I  must  acquaint  you  that  he  is  still  very  far  from  being  well, 
though  he  thinks  himself  out  of  danger,  as  indeed  I  do  also ; 

*  "We  are  agreeably  surprised  to  see  at  this  era,  in  the  heart  of  Brit- 
tany, a  gentleman  who  so  ably  refuted  the  system  of  innate  ideas,  and 
already  exhibiting  the  theory  of  Locke.  For  though  the  English  philos- 
opher was  in  Paris  in  1675,  I  do  not  think  his  opinions  were  ever 
promulgated  there,  or  that  they  were  even  at  that  time  published.  But 
Hobbes,  and  particulary  Gassendi,  had  raised  objections  to  the  medita- 
tions of  Descartes,  of  which  the  principles  had  sprung  up  in  able  heads. 

But  what  deceives  Madame  de  Sevigne  here,  is  the  word  to  think,  ill 
understood,  and  applied  to  many  secondary  operations  of  the  under- 
standing. Its  too  general  signification  disguises  its  origin.  Descartes 
himself  was  mistaken  by  not  submitting  this  word  sufficiently  to  the 
analysis  which  he  himself  invented. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  239 

but  he  is  tired  of  doctors  as  well  as  you ;  he  has  taken  more 
medicines  than  were  necessary ;  they  have  acted  upon  his 
blood,  and  heated  it  to  such  a  degree  that  every  day  some  of 
those  horrible  eruptions  -appear  which  are  so  very  disagreeable 
both  to  those  who  suffer  and  those  who  see  them  ;  tlm-  he 
poor  fellow  is  happy  to  have  a  little  respite,  that  he  m:y  e- 
pose  himself. 

Yesterday  I  observed,  with  admiration,  how  very  easy  it  is 
to  console  ourselves  for  the  want  of  play  by  a  better  avoca- 
tion ;  and  how  patient  we  are  while  we  are  squandering  our 
money  in  farthings,  as  I  said  the  other  day  at  Rennes.  But 
without  imitating  you,  for  I  hate  a  bad  copy  of  a  good  origi- 
nal, I  shall  tell  you  that  my  age  and  experience  make  me 
wish  not  to  have  always  such  demands  upon  me,  and  that  1 
could  now  and  then  put  a  little  wit  into  my  poor  head  ;  indeed 
it  is  what  I  am  every  day  endeavoring  to  do  when  in  my 
closet  or  my  wood.  You  will  not  perhaps  be  displeased  to 
know  the  person  who  has  engaged  us  in  play  of  late.  It  is  a 
tolerably  pretty  woman  from  Vitre,  who  has  been  here  three 
nights,  and  during  her  stay  we  have  hardly  had  the  cards  out 
of  our  hands,  she  is  so  passionately  fond  of  them.  How  much 
better  does  Mademoiselle  de  Grignan  spend  her  time,  happy 
creature  !  In  reading  your  letters  over  more  carefully,  I  find 
she  speaks  without  reserve  of  her  intentions  to  Madame  du 
Janet,  and  that  is  the  only  conversation  she  had  with  M.  de 
Grignan  that  she  conceals  from  her ;  but  still  I  can  not  help 
wondering  that  she  should  mention  the  one  without  the  other. 
It  must  be  no  small  satisfaction  to  her  to  have  the  conversa- 
tion of  so  prudent  and  good  a  person.  I  reverence  moie 
than  ever  the  wise  dispensations  of  Providence  when  I  reflect 
how  it  turns  the  steps  you  are  about  to  take  to  my  advan- 
tage ;  and  I  already  begin  to  enjoy,  in  imagination,  the  pleas- 
ure I  am  to  receive. 

I  ask  a  thousand  pardons  :  I  have  met  with  a  little  book  of 
madrigals,*  containing  the  prettiest  things  in  the  world.     I 

*  By  La  Sabliere. 

240  LETTERS    TO 

must  endeavor  to  bring  them  into  favor  with  you  this  winter. 
It  is  a  pleasure  to  have  a  bad  memory ;  we  are  reading  Sara- 
sin  again,  and  I  am  as  much  delighted  with  him  as  at  first ; 
this  is  the  case  also  with  Les  Petites  Lettres  ;  we  find  some- 
thing new  in  these,  and  we  add  others  according  to  our  fancy  : 
your  brother  has  an  excellent  knack  at  furnishing  these 
amusements.  I  had  a  mind  to  dip  again  into  the  Prejudices,* 
I  think  them  admirable :  but  what  crowns  the  whole,  my  dear- 
est child,  is,  that  these  things  all  lead  directly  to  you.  Oh, 
how  sweet  the  consolation,  to  think  that  we  shall  meet  once 
more !  Alas,  a  whole  year  has  passed  in  continual  adieus ; 
mortifying  occupation  !  I  can  not  look  upon  the  past  with  so 
much  tranquillity  as  you  do.  It  is  to  me  a  source  of  the  bit- 
terest uneasiness,  at  least  it  has  been  so  till  I  read  the  pleasing 
assurance  of  your  return  ;  now  I  forgive  it  in  consideration  of 
the  future,  which  offers  itself  to  my  imagination  fraught  with 
hopes  that  make  amends  for  all. 


The  Rocks,  Sunday,  Sept.  22,  1680. 
You  are  so  much  of  a  philosopher,  my  beloved  child,  that 
there  is  no  such  thing  as  giving  vent  to  the  transports  of  the 
heart  with  you.  You  are  continually  anticipating  hopes  ;  and 
you  pass  over  the  joy  of  possession,  to  contemplate  the  hour 
of  separation.  Believe  me,  we  ought  to  manage  differently 
the  blessings  which  Providence  has  in  store  for  us.  After 
having  made  you  this  reproach,  it  remains  with  me  honestly 
to  confess  that  I  deserve  it  as  much  as  you  do,  and  that  it  is 
impossible  for  any  one  to  be  more  alarmed  at  the  cruel  rapidity 
of  time,  or  to  have  a  stronger  foretaste  of  those  sorrows  which 
generally  follow  in  the  train  of  pleasures.  In  short,  my  child, 
this  life  is  a  perpetual  checker- work  of  good  and  evil,  pleasure 

*  A  work  of  M.  Nicole's,  entitled,  Prejuges  legitimes  contre  les  Cak 
vinistes  (Well-founded  Prejudices  against  the  Calvinists). 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  241 

and  pain.  When  in  possession  of  what  we  desire,  we  are  only 
so  much  the  nearer  losing  it ;  and  when  at  a  distance  from  it, 
we  live  in  the  expectation  of  enjoying  it  again.  It  is  our  busi- 
ness, therefore,  to  take  things  as  God  is  pleased  to  send  them. 
For  my  part,  I  am  resolved  to  indulge  myself  in  the  delightful 
hope  of  seeing  you,  without  any  mixture  of  alloy. 

You  are  very  unjust,  my  love,  in  the  judgment  you  pass 
upon  yourself;  you  say,  that  though  people  at  first  think  you 
agreeable,  upon  a  longer  acquaintance  they  cease  to  love  you ; 
it  is  precisely  the  reverse ;  you  have  a  certain  air  of  superiority 
that  makes  people  afraid  of  you,  and  despair  of  ever  being  ad- 
mitted into  the  number  of  your  friends ;  but  when  once  they 
know  you,  it  is  impossible  not  to  be  attached  to  you ;  and  if 
any  of  your  acquaintance  seem  to  shun  you,  it  is  only  because 
they  love  you,  and  can  not  bear  the  thought  of  not  being  so 
much  loved  in  return  as  they  wish.  I  have  heard  many  per- 
sons extol  the  charms  of  your  friendship  to  the  skies,  and  af- 
terward reflect  on  their  own  want  of  merit,  which  prevented 
them  from  preserving  that  happiness  ;  thus  each  blames  him- 
self for  a  degree  of  coldness ;  but  where  there  is  no  real  cause 
of  complaint  on  either  side,  it  seems  only  to  require  a  little 
leisurely  conversation  to  be  good  friends  again. 

I  have  a  great  desire  to  read  Terence  ;  nothing  could  give 
me  greater  pleasure  than  to  see  the  originals,  of  which  the 
copies  have  afforded  me  so  much  pleasure.  My  son  will  trans- 
late to  me  satire  against  foolish  amours  ;*  he  ought  to  be  able 
to  write  one  himself,  or  at  least  to  profit  by  this ;  if  the  situation 
he  is  in  at  present  does  not  correct  him,  I  know  not  what  will. 
We  read  books  of  controversy ;  one  has  lately  been  publishedf 
in  answer  to  the  Prejudices,  to  which  I  wish  M.  Arnauld  had 

*  She,  no  doubt,  alludes  here  to  the  well-known  description  of  the 
extravagance  of  lovers,  which  is  to  be  found  in  Terence's  Eunuch, 
Scene  I.  beginning  in  these  words : 

In  amore  hsec  omnia  insunt  vitia,  etc. 

f  Written  by  the  Protestant  minister  Claude,  entitled,  "  A  Defense 
of  the  Reformation  against  the  '  Well-founded  Prejudices'  of  M.  Nicole." 


242  LETTERS    TO 

replied ;  but  I  fancy  that  he  has  been  forbidden ;  and  it  is 
thought  more  advisable  to  leave  this  book  unanswered,  though 
it  may  do  injury  to  religion,  than  to  permit  the  publication  of 
another  that  may  serve  to  justify  the  Jansenists  from  the  errors 
with  which  they  have  been  reproached ;  but  more  of  this 
another  time.  I  have  been  promised  the  coadjutor's  speech, 
but  I  have  not  yet  had  it ;  my  son  and  several  others  speak 
highly  in  its  praise. 


The  Rocks,  Wednesday,  November  26,  1684. 

So  much  the  worse  for  you,  my  dear  child  ;  if  you  do  not 
read  over  your  letters,  your  indolence  robs  you  of  a  great  pleas- 
ure, which  is  not  one  of  the  least  of  the  evils  it  may  occasion 
you  ;  for  my  part,  I  read  them  over  and  over  again  ;  they  con- 
stitute all  my  joy,  all  my  sorrow,  all  my  occupation,  so  that 
you  are  the  center  and  cause  of  all.  I  shall  begin  this  letter 
with  you. 

Is  it  possible  that  what  you  tell  me  can  be  true,  that  when 
you  spoke  to  the  king  you  were  like  a  person  beside  yourself, 
and  so  lost,  to  use  your  own  expression,  in  the  blaze  of  maj- 
esty, that  you  knew  not  what  you  said,  nor  could  recollect 
any  of  your  ideas.  Never,  never  can  I  believe  that  my  beloved 
daughter,  always  so  remarkable  for  her  ready  wit  and  happy 
presence  of  mind,  should  have  been  in  such  a  situation.  I 
must  confess,  that  from  what  his  majesty  said  to  you — "  that 
he  would  do  something  for  M.  de  Grignan" — I  by  no  means 
understand  that  he  merely  alluded  to  the  great  expense  M.  de 
Grignan  had  lately  incurred :  no,  the  king's  answer  appeared 
to  me  to  bear  this  construction,  "  Madam,  the  favor  you  ask 
of  me  is  a  trifle,  I  will  do  something  more  for  Grignan ;" 
meaning,  I  suppose,  the  affair  of  the  survivorship,  which  he 
knew  would  be  a  capital  point  for  your  family.  I  had  no  idea 
of  the  little  present  in  question,  and  you  know  what  I  said 

MADAME     DE     GRIOJNAN.  243 

upon  that  subject  in  my  last  letter.  It  rests  with  you,  my 
dear,  to  set  me  right,  and  I  beg  you  will  do  so,  for  I  do  not 
lovre  to  view  things  in  a  wrong  light. 

Madame  de  la  Fayette  has  written  me  word  that  you  were 
an  angel  of  beauty  at  court,  that  you  spoke  to  the  king,  and 
that  it  was  thought  you  were  soliciting  a  pension  for  your 
husband.  I  returned  a  slight  answer,  "  that  I  believed  it  was 
to  entreat  his  majesty  to  consider  the  great  expenses  M.  de 
Grignan  had  been  obliged  to  incur  in  Provence,"  and  that  was 

You  relate  inimitably  the  story  of  M.  de  Villequier  and  his 
mother-in-law.  There  seems  no  danger  of  her  proving  a  Phae- 
dra to  him.  Had  you  read  that  part  of  your  letter  over,  you 
would  easily  have  conceived  the  manner  in  which  it  struck 
me.  It  is  not  unlike  the  story  of  Joconde ;  and  the  chamber- 
maid yawning  with  fatigue  at  her  Jong  waiting  is  admirable. 
I  think  Madame  d'Aumont's  conduct  very  praiseworthy :  it 
ought  to  silence  the  world,  and  satisfy  her  husband.  What 
great  doings  in  Savoy !  I  can  not  believe  the  king  will  with- 
hold his  pity  and  assistance  from  the  young  Princess  of  Baden, 
when  she  represents  to  him  the  situation  of  her  mother,  aban- 
doned by  all  her  children.  I  do  not  believe  she  will  set  out 
till  her  mother  is  gone.  This  good  mother,  it  is  true,  has  so 
much  fire  about  her,  that  it  is  difficult  to  persuade  one's  self 
she  is  not  still  in  the  prime  of  her  youth.  The  Princess  de 
Tarente  intends  to  receive  her  at  Vitre.  As  for  Madame  de 
Marbeuf,  she  is  one  of  her  old  acquaintance ;  they  have  spent 
whole  winters  together  in  supping  and  playing  at  the  Palace 
of  Soissons ;  you  may  judge  how  readily  this  will  be  renewed 
at  Rennes.  I  have  told  my  son  the  story  of  the  Chevalier  de 
Soisson's  engagement :  we  could  neither  of  us  have  believed 
the  eyes  of  a  grandmother  retained  still  so  much  power.  I  do 
not  think  the  raising  of  the  siege  of  Buda*  worth  mentioning 

*  After  having  beaten  the  Turks,  and  repulsed  the  troops  they  were 
leading  to  the  assistance  of  Buda,  the  Duke  of  Lorraine  was  at  length 
obliged  to  raise  the  siege,  which  had  lasted  for  nearly  four  months. 

244  LETTERS    TO 

to  you ;  it  is  a  piece  of  news  hardly  of  sufficient  consequence 
to  obtain  a  place  in  my  letter.  I  fancy  the  dauphiness,*  how- 
ever, will  take  the  pains  to  be  sorry  :  her  brother  has  exposed 
himself  so  much,  and  acquitted  himself  so  well  in  this  expedi- 
tion, that  it  is  a  pity  such  an  elector  should  be  obliged  to  re- 
turn from  it. 

Our  worthy  is  very  ill  with  one  of  those  bad  colds  and 
coughs  which  you  have  seen  him  afflicted  with.  He  is  in  his 
little  closet.  We  take  better  care  of  him  here  than  could  be 
done  at  Paris.  My  daughter-in-law  has  gone  through  all  the 
hot  and  cold  regimen  of  the  Capuchins,  without  being  affected 
either  one  way  or  the  other  by  them.  When  the  weather  is 
fine,  as  it  has  been  for  the  last  three  days,  I  venture  out  about 
two  o'clock,  and  walk  backward  and  forward  before  the  gard- 
eners, who  are  cutting  wood,  and  representing  the  picture  of 
winter,  but  without  stopping  to  contemplate  the  scene ;  and 
after  I  have  enjoyed  all  the  heat  of  the  sun,  I  return  to  the 
house,  leaving  the  evening  to  those  of  a  more  hardy  constitu- 
tion. In  this  way  do  I  govern  myself  to  please  you,  and  very 
often  I  do  not  stir  out  of  the  house  at  all.  Coulanges'  chair, 
a  few  books  that  my  son  reads  admirably,  and  now  and  then  a 
little  conversation,  will  compose  the  whole  of  my  occupation 
during  the  winter,  and  the  subject  of  your  anxiety ;  for  I  shall 
exactly  follow  your  orders  in  all  points,  and  every  where. 

My  son  understands  perfectly  well  what  Wednesday  means.f 
To  say  the  truth,  we  would  be  very  dull  without  him,  and  he 
without  us ;  but  he  manages  matters  so  well  that  there  is  gen- 
erally a  party  of  ombre  in  my  apartments,  and  at  intervals  we 
read,  and  make  comments  on  what  we  read  ;  you  know  what 
sort  of  place  the  Rocks  is.  We  have  read  a  folio  volume 
through  in  little  more  than  a  week.     We  have  been  engaged 

*  The  dauphiness  was  always  a  German  in  her  heart ;  this  partiality, 
which  the  subsequent  war  increased  and  rendered  more  offensive,  con- 
tributed, with  other  eccentricities  of  character,  to  alienate  the  affection! 
of  her  husband,  the  king,  and  the  whole  court. 

f  This  was  one  of  Madame  de  Sevigne's  post-days. 

MADAME    DE     ORIGNAN.  245 

with  M.  Nicole,  the  Lives  of  the  Fathers  of  the  Desert,  and 
the  History  of  the  Reformation  in  England ;  in  short,  those 
who  are  happy  enough  to  have  a  taste  for  rea< 
be  at  a  loss  for  amusement. 


The  Rocks,  Sunday,  February  2?J~1685. 

Ah,  my  child  !  was  ever  any  thing  so  ill-timed  as  the  death 
of  the  King  of  England,*  just  at  the  eve  of  a  masquerade  ? 
My  poor  little  marquis  f  is  very  unfortunate  to  have  such  an 
unexpected  event  thrown  in  the  way  of  his  pleasure.  I  know 
nothing  that  can  comfort  him  for  this  disappointment  but  the 
universal  encomiums  that  have  been  given  to  his  charming 
dress,  and  the  hope  that  the  masquerade  is  only  put  off  for  a 

My  dear  child,  I  make  you  my  compliments  of  condolence 
on  these  great  occurrences,  and  expect  yours  in  return  upon 
my  mistaken  ideas ;  for  I  was  at  the  masquerade,  the  opera, 
and  the  ball,  snug  in  a  corner,  contemplating  you  with  admi- 
ration ;  in  short,  I  was  in  as  great  an  agitation  as  you  may 
suppose  your  poor  mother  to  experience  on  such  an  occasion ; 
and,  after  all,  there  was  no  entertainment  of  any  kind. 

I  enter  into  your  sentiments,  my  beautiful  dear,  better  than 
any  one.  Yes,  yes,  I  can  very  well  conceive  that  we  are 
transfused  into  our  children,  and,  as  you  say,  feel  more  keenly 
for  them  than  for  ourselves.  I  have  sufficiently  experienced 
these  emotions,  which  are  not  without  their  pleasure  when  the 
object  is  deserving  of  them  and  of  the  admiration  of  every 
one  besides.  Your  son  pleases  extremely  ;  there  is  something 
inexpressibly  smart  and  agreeable  in  his  countenance  ;  the  eye 
does  not  pass  lightly  over  him  as  over  others  in  general,  but 

*  Charles  II.,  who  died  16th  February,  1685. 
f  Louis-Provence,  Marquis  de  Grignan,  Madame  de  Sevigne's  grand? 

246  LETTERS     TO 

rests  attentively.  Madame  de  la  Fayette  tells  me  she  has 
written  to  Madame  de  Montespan  that  she  had  engaged  her 
honor  that  you  and  your  son  would  have  reason  to  be  satisfied 
with  her.  I  know  no  one  who  would  be  more  happy  to  serve 
you  than  Madame  de  la  Fayette. 

But  is  it  not  extraordinary  that  we  have  not  yet  had  a  word 
together  on  the  death  of  the  King  of  England  ?  He  was  by 
no  means  an  old  man,  and  he  was  a  monarch  ;  this  shows  that 
death  spares  no  one.  It  will  be  a  great  happiness  if  he  was  a 
Catholic  in  his  heart,  and  died  in  the  faith  of  our  holy  reli- 
gion. England  appears  to  me  a  theater  that  is  about  to  fur- 
nish some  very  extraordinary  scenes :  the  Prince  of  Orange, 
the  Duke  of  Monmouth,  an  infinite  number  of  Lutherans,  and  a 
confirmed  aversion  to  all  Catholics ;  but  time  will  discover  in 
what  way  Providence  will  direct  the  performance,  after  this 
tragical  event  ;*  however,  it  seems  it  will  not  put  a  stop  to 
the  diversion  at  Versailles,  since  I  find  you  are  to  return  there 

*  Charles  IT.  was  sixty-five  years  of  age,  and  had  reigned  about 
twenty-five  years,  reckoning  from  the  restoration  of  the  Stuarts.  He 
received  the  sacraments  agreeably  to  the  rites  of  the  Church  of  Rome, 
but  more,  it  is  said,  in  compliance  with  the  entreaties  of  his  brother 
than  the  dictates  of  his  conscience.  He  had  some  good  private  quali- 
ties. But,  as  a  prince,  his  character,  says  the  impartial  Hume,  was 
"  dangerous  to  his  subjects,  and  dishonorable  to  himself."  To  rid  him- 
self of  his  parliament,  he  had  placed  himself  in  a  state  of  disgraceful 
independence  on  Louis  XIV.  It  has  been  said  of  him  that  he  never 
said  a  foolish  thing,  and  never  did  a  wise  one.  Judging  by  the  follow- 
ing anecdote,  he  carried  further  even  than  policy  required,  the  practice 
of  dissimulation,  which  would  be,  as  it  is  declared,  the  necessary  vir- 
tue of  kings,  if  it  be  true  that  weakness  and  indolence  are  their  natural 
vices.  It  is  said  that  Charles  II.  having  reproached  his  minister 
Shaftesbury  with  being  "  the  greatest  knave  in  the  three  kingdoms," 
he  replied,  "Apparently  your  majesty  only  includes  subjects." 

Madame  de  Sevigne  speaks  of  the  state  of  England  in  the  character 
of  a  well-informed  person.  The  rebellion  of  Monmouth  and  his  tragi- 
cal end  in  the  same  year,  and  James  II.  dethroned  and  driven  out  of 
the  kingdom  three  years  afterward  by  his  son-in-law,  justified  but  too 
well  her  predictions. 

MADAME     DE     GEIGNAN.  247 

on  Monday.  You  say  a  thousand  kind  things  of  the  concern 
it  would  give  you  to  leave  me  behind  at  Paris,  if  I  were  there , 
but  as  this,  to  my  great  regret,  is  not  the  case,  make  the  most 
of  this  opportunity,  follow  the  court :  no  one  is  formed  to 
make  a  better  figure  there,  and  I  think  every  thing  seems  to 
tend  toward  the  completion  of  your  wishes.  Mine,  though 
made  at  such  a  distance,  are  not  less  ardent  and  sincere  than 
if  I  were  with  you.  I  feel,  though  less  delicately,  the  truth 
of  a  remark  you  made  to  me  one  day,  and  which  I  then 
laughed  at :  that  you  were  so  much  mistress  of  my  imagina- 
tion and  my  heart  that  I  had  you  always  present  with  me  ; 
this  is  very  true,  my  child,  but  I  must  own  I  had  rather  enjoy 
a  little  more  of  reality. 


The  Rocks,  Wednesday,  Aug.  11,  1685. 

You  see,  my  dear,  that  we  are  now  come  to  reckon  by 
days  only,  not  by  months !  not  even  by  weeks  !  But,  alas  ! 
what  you  say  is  very  true :  there  could  not  be  a  more  cruel 
damp  to  our  pleasures  than  the  thought  that  we  might  be 
obliged  to  part  again  almost  as  soon  as  we  met ;  this  is  a  pain- 
ful idea ;  it  occurs  to  me  but  too  often ;  day  or  night  I  am  not 
free  from  it ;  it  came  in  my  head  the  last  time  I  was  writing  to 
you,  and  I  could  not  forbear  saying  to  myself,  Surely  this  evil 
ought  to  be  sufficient  to  secure  me  from  the  danger  of  expe- 
riencing a  greater ;  but  I  dare  not  dwell  upon  this  melancholy 
reflection,  and  shall  now  divert  it  by  the  thought  that  I  am 
soon  to  see  you  at  Baville.  I  shall  not  be  at  all  ashamed  of 
my  equipage  ;  my  children  have  very  elegant  ones,  and  I  have 
had  the  same ;  but  now  the  times  are  altered ;  I  have  only 
two  horses  of  my  own,  and  shall  hire  four  horses  from  the 
postmaster  of  Mans ;  and  in  that  manner  I  shall  make  my 
entrance  into  Paris  without  the  least  concern.  You  will  find 
my  leg  in  a  state  of  perfection,  which  will  make  you  love 

248  LETTERS    TO 

Charlotte  all  your  life  ;  she  has  fancied  you  from  hence  more 
beautiful  than  the  day,  and  this  idea  has  given  her  an  extreme 
desire  to  restore  this  leg  to  you,  worthy  of  your  admiration, 
when  you  know  from  what  a  situation  it  has  been  extricated. 
All  this  is  past,  and  so  is  the  visit  of  little  Coulanges  ;  he  set 
out  on  Monday  morning  with  your  brother.  I  accompanied 
them  as  far  as  the  gate  that  leads  to  Vitre ;  there  we  stopped 
to  await  the  arrival  of  your  letters  from  Paris,  which  came  as 
expected,  and  were  read  with  the  usual  pleasure.  As  you  only 
mentioned  that  M.  d'Ormesson's  wife  was  at  the  point  of 
death,  I  have  not  dared  to  write  to  him  ;  but  as  soon  as  you 
let  me  know  she  is  buried,  I  will  venture  to  send  him  a  line  or 
two  by  way  of  condolence  and  comfort ;  but  indeed,  consider- 
ing the  state  she  was  in,  what  could  be  more  desirable  for  her- 
self and  her  family  than  her  death  ?  Ah,  my  dear  child,  how 
humiliating  it  is  to  be  obliged  to  drag  about  the  lees  of  life 
and  understanding !  how  much  preferable  would  it  be,  could 
we  have  our  wish,  to  leave  behind  us  a  remembrance  worthy 
of  being  preserved,  rather  than  spoil  and  disfigure  it  by  the  in- 
firmities and  weakness  of  old  age !  I  should  like  to  be  an 
inhabitant  of  that  country  where  they  kill  their  parents  out 
of  kindness,  when  they  become  old  and  helpless,  if  such  a 
practice  could  be  reconciled  to  Christianity. 

Our  gentlemen  sung  Guadeamus  on  Monday  evening  at 
Marbeufs.  Your  brother  is  not  quite  recovered  of  his  slight 
disorder.  I  have  had  some  delightful  conversations  with  Cou- 
langes on  the  subject  he  is  so  much  at  a  loss  to  comprehend : 
scenes  have  passed  between  us  not  inferior  to  some  of  Moliere's. 
When  do  you  expect  Saint  Grignan  f 

KB.  Ko  more  letters  are  found  from  Madame  de  Sevigne  to  her 
daughter  till  toward  the  end  of  1688,  both  having  passed  the  interme- 
diate time  together  at  Paris. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  249 


Paris,  Friday,  October  8,  1688. 

What  a  tremendous  rain,  just,  my  child,  as  you  are  going 
to  descend  that  frightful  mountain  of  Rochepot !  How  num- 
berless are  the  vexations  of  those  who  love  with  any  degree  of 
fervor  !  We  know  not  how  to  love  heroically,  notwithstand- 
ing the  example  of  heroism  below  :*  but  there  is  no  knowing 
you  without  being  attached  to  you  with  the  greatest  tender- 
ness. Our  poor  hero  is  still  dreadfully  afflicted  with  the  gout ; 
it  is  a  perfect  martyrdom.  There  are  several  persons  of  wit 
and  learning,  as  St.  Romain,f  the  Abbe  Bigorre,  Crosailles,J 
who  visit  him  with  a  view  to  divert  his  painful  moments  with 
the  news  of  the  day,  and  other  topics;  but  still  he  suffers 

Our  young  marquis  could  not  have  been  at  the  opening  of 
the  trenches,  for  M.  de  Vauban  could  not  wait  the  arrival  of 
the  dauphin  on  account  of  the  rains ;  we  are  still  persuaded 
that  in  a  very  few  days  your  mind  will  be  at  ease. 

The  Prince  of  Orange  has  declared  himself  protector  of  the 
religion  of  the  Church  of  England,  and  has  demanded  the 
young  prince,§  that  he  may  be  brought  up  in  that  faith.  This 
is  a  great  event :  several  of  the  English  nobility  have  joined 
him.  You  know  that  La  Trousse  has  taken  Avignon. ||  Mad- 
ame  de   Coulanges,   who   overflows  with   money,   has   lent 

*  Meaning  the  Chevalier  de  Grignan,  who  had  an  apartment  in  the 
Hotel  de  Carnavalet,  Madame  de  Sevigne's  house  at  Paris. 

f  St.  Romain  had  been  embassador  in  Switzerland. 

%  Brother  of  Marshal  de  Catinet,  and  a  man  of  great  merit.  He  had 
been  captain  of  the  French  guards,  but  had  quitted  the  service  on  ac- 
count of  ill  health. 

§  James,  Prince  of  Wales,  son  of  James  II.,  born  the  20th  June, 
1688  ;  but  better  known  afterward  by  the  name  of  the  Pretender. 

|  Some  disputes  that  had  happened  between  the  court  of  France  and 

that  of  Rome  had  obliged  Louis  XIV.  to  sieze  upon  the  county  of 

Venaissin,  belonging  to  the  pope. 


250  LETTERS     TO 

Mademoiselle  de  Meri  a  thousand  francs ;  we  expect  that 
lady  here  every  day.  M.  de  la  Trousse  (her  brother)  will  very 
readily  repay  the  loan. 

I  am  much  pleased,  my  dear  child,  that  you  approve  the 
coming  of  the  good  Abbe  de  Bigorre ;  his  company  will 
prove  no  small  amusement  to  me.  We  entertain  ourselves 
below  stairs  with  frequent  conversations  upon  the  state  of  our 
affairs ;  I  find  there  all  the  consolation  that  a  sound  under- 
standing and  a  generous  heart  can  afford  me  ;  for  the  more 
the  chevalier  is  known  the  more  he  must  be  esteemed  and 
loved.  I  have  no  need  to  ask  him  if  you  love  me ;  for  I  am 
convinced  of  it  by  a  thousand  instances :  but  without  ques- 
tioning him  upon  the  subject,  he  gave  me  the  most  charming 
proofs  of  it.  We  eat  together,  and  keep  a-  very  good  table. 
The  philosophy  of  Corbinelli  is  to  come  to-night.  We  have 
written  in  all  our  apartments,  Fais  ce  que  tu  voudras  ;  vive  la 
sainte  liberte/* 

I  have  seen  Madame  de  Fontenilles  :  she  ha$  lately  lost  her 
mother,  and  seems  overwhelmed  with  grief.  You  will  judge 
what  impression  this  made  upon  me.  Her  mother  died  in  a 
shocking  way,  crying  out  in  all  the  agonies  of  despair,  and 
terrified  with  the  thought  of  taking  the  last  sacraments  :  she 
received  them,  however,  but  with  a  gloomy  and  dreadful  si- 
lence. Her  son  and  Alliot  arrived  just  two  hours  after  her 


Paris,  Tuesday,  October  26,  1688. 
Oh !  what  a  letter,  my  child !  It  well  deserves  that  I  should 
come  here  on  purpose  to  receive  it,  as  I  did.  At  length,  then,  you 
are  arrived  safe  at  Grignan,  and  are  in  perfect  health  ;  and  such 
is  my  fate  that,  though  you  are  removed  at  the  distance  of  hall 
the  globe  from  me,  I  must  rejoice  at  it.     Perhaps  it  may 

*  Do  as  you  like :  reign,  sacred  Liberty ! 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  251 

please  Heaven  that  ere  long  I  shall  embrace  you  again :  let 
me  live  in  that  hope.  You  make  a  very  pleasing  portrait  of 
Paulina.  I  know  her  again  ;  she  is  not  at  all  altered,  as  M.  de 
Grignan  would  have  made  us  believe  she  was.  She  is  a  sweet 
creature,  and  worthy  of  being  loved.  She  adores  you,  and 
her  absolute  submission  to  your  will,  even  in  the  midst  of  her 
joy  at  seeing  you,  if  you  decide  that  she  should  leave  you 
again,  at  once  engages  my  pity  and  concern  ;  nor  can  I  help 
admiring  the  power  she  has  over  herself.  Were  I  in  your 
place  I  should  be  loth  to  part  with  such  an  agreeable  com- 
panion, who  will  at  once  furnish  you  with  amusement  and  oc- 
cupation. I  would  make  her  work  at  her  needle,  and  read 
works  of  taste  :  I  would  argue  with  her,  and  sound  the  depth 
of  her  capacity.  I  would  talk  to  her  with  affection  and  con- 
fidence ;  for,  believe  me,  you  will  never  be  tired  of  her  society, 
on  the  contrary,  she  may  be  of  great  use  to  you.  In  short,  I 
would  make  the  most  of  her,  and  would  not  punish  myself  by 
depriving  myself  of  such  a  comfort. 

I  am  very  glad  the  chevalier  speaks  well  of  me ;  my  vanity 
is  concerned  in  preserving  his  good  opinion.  If  he  is  fond  of 
my  company,  I,  in  return,  can  never  have  too  much  of  his, 
and  I  think  it  a  proof  of  good  taste  to  be  desirous  of  cultivat- 
ing his  esteem.  I  know  not  how  you  can  say  that  your  hu- 
mor is  a  cloud  which  hides  or  obscures  the  affections  you  have 
for  me.  If  such  may  have  been  the  case  formerly,  you  have 
for  many  years  past  totally  removed  the  vail,  and  you  no 
longer  conceal  from  me  any  part  of  the  most  perfect  and  tender 
affection  that  one  person  can  entertain  for  another.  Heaven 
will  reward  you  for  it  in  your  own  children,  who  will  love 
you,  not  in  the  same  way,  as  perhaps  they  may  not  be  capable 
of  it,  but  at  least  to  the  utmost  of  their  abilities,  and  we  can 
desire  no  more. 

252  LETTERS    TO 

Paris,  All-Saints'  day,  1688,  nine  o'clock  at  night. 
Philipsburg  is  taken,  and  your  son  is  well  I  I  have  only 
tc  turn  this  phrase  in  every  possible  way,  for  I  will  not  change 
my  text.  Learn  then  again  from  this  note,  that  your  son  is 
well,  and  that  Philipsburg  is  taken/  A  courier  is  just  ar- 
rived at  M.  de  Villacerf's,  who  says  that  the  dauphin's  courier 
reached  Fontainebleau  while  Father  Gaillard  was  preaching ; 
and  that  the  sermon  was  immediately  interrupted,  and  thanks 
returned  to  God  for  this  brilliant  achievement.  No  further 
particulars  are  known,  except  that  there  was  no  assault,  and 
that  M.  du  Plessis  was  right  when  he  said  the  governor  had 
ordered  wagons  to  carry  away  his  equipage.  Recover  your 
breath,  then,  my  dear  child,  and  let  the  first  thing  you  do  be 
to  return  thanks  to  God.  No  other  siege  is  talked  of;  rejoice 
that  your  son  has  witnessed  that  of  Philipsburg ;  it  is  an  ad- 
mirable period  for  him ;  it  is  the  dauphin's  first  campaign. 
Would  you  not  have  been  grieved  if  he  was  the  only  person 
of  his  age  who  was  not  present  on  the  occasion,  in  which  all 
the  rest  glory?  But  let  us  not  look  back;" every  thing  has 
happened  as  we  could  have  wished.  It  is  you,  my  dear  count, 
we  may  thank  for  it.  I  congratulate  you  on  the  joy  you  must 
experience,  and  beg  my  compliments  also  to  the  coadjutor ; 
you  are  all  relieved  from  great  anxiety.  Sleep  soundly,  then, 
my  dearest,  sleep  soundly  on  the  assurance  we  give  you ;  if 
you  are  covetous  of  grief,  as  we  formerly  said,  seek  some  other 
occasion,  for  God  has  preserved  your  dear  child  to  you.  We 
are  in  raptures,  and  in  this  feeling  I  embrace  you  with  an  af- 
fection that  I  believe  you  can  not  doubt. 


Paris.  Monday,  November  8,  1688 
This  is  the  day,  my  dear  child,  on  which  you  are  to  begin 
your  journey ;  we  follow  you  step  by  step.     The  weather  is 

MADAME     DE     QRIGNAN.  253 

delightful ;  the  durance  will  not  be  so  terrific  as  it  sometimes 
is.  It  looks  as  if  you  were  resolved  to  remove  further  and 
further  from  us  out  of  mere  spite ;  you  will  find  yourself  at 
last  on  the  sea-shore.  But  it  is  the  will  of  God  that  we 
should  meet  with  periods  in  our  life  which  are  difficult  to 
bear ;  and  we  must  endeavor  to  repair,  by  a  submission  to  his 
will,  the  too  great  sensibility  we  feel  toward  earthly  things. 
Ju  this  respect  it  is  impossible  to  be  more  culpable  than  I  am. 
The  chevalier  is  much  better.  It  is  painful  to  reflect  that 
the  weather  which  agrees  with  him  is  precisely  what  may 
dethrone  the  King  of  England ;  whereas  he  suffered  dreadfully 
a  few  days  ago,  when  the  wind  and  tempests  were  dispersing 
the  fleet  of  the  Prince  of  Orange  :  he  is  unhappy  at  not  being 
able  to  make  his  health  accord  with  the  good  of  Europe  ;  for 
the  sentiment  of  joy  is  universal  at  the  failure  of  the  prince, 
whose  wife*  is  a  perfect  Tullia ;  ah,  how  boldly  would  she 
drive  over  the  body  of  her  father !  She  has  empowered  her 
husband  to  take  possession  of  the  kingdom  of  England,  of 
which  she  calls  herself  the  heiress;  and  if  her  husband  is 
killed,  for  her  imagination  is  not  very  delicate,  M.  de  Schom- 
bergf  is  to  take  possession  of  it  for  herself.  What  say  you  to 
a  hero,  who  so  sadly  disgraces  the  close  of  a  glorious  life  ? 
He  saw  the  admiral's  ship  sink  in  which  he  was  to  have  ein- 

*  Mary  Stuart,  daughter  of  James  II.,  king  of  England,  and  wife  of 
"William  Henry  of  Nassau,  Prince  of  Orange,  afterward  king  of  Eng- 
land by  the  name  of  William  III.  Tullia,  the  daughter  of  Servius  Tul- 
lius,  king  of  Rome,  caused  her  chariot  to  drive  over  the  bleeding  body 
of  her  father,  who  had  just  been  assassinated. 

f  Frederic  Armand,  Count  de  Schomberg,  marshal  of  France,  ob- 
tained permission  to  retire  from  the  king's  service  in  1 685,  on  account 
of  his  having  embraced  the  Protestant  religion.  He  was  minister  of 
state,  and  generalissimo  of  the  armies  of  the  Elector  of  Brandenbourg, 
and  went  over  to  England  in  1688  with  the  Prince  of  Orange. 

Marshal  de  Schomberg  had  ancient  leagues  with  the  Princes  of  Orange. 
He  had,  besides,  much  cause  to  complain  of  the  court,  and  even  of  Tu- 
renne,  during  the  war  with  Holland.  See  a  curious  account  of  this 
general  in  the  Fragmens  Historiques  de  Racine, 

254  LETTERS     TO 

barked ;  and  as  the  prince  and  he  were  the  last  in  following 
the  fleet,  which  was  under  weigh  in  the  finest  weather  pos- 
sible, they  were  obliged,  by  a  tremendous  storm  that  suddenly 
arose,  to  return  to  port,  the  prince  being  very  much  indis- 
posed with  his  asthma,  and  M.  de  Schomberg  as  much  vexed. 
Only  twenty-six  sail  returned  with  them;  the  rest  were  all 
dispersed,  some  toward  Norway,  others  toward  Boulogne. 
M.  d'Aumont  has  sent  a  courier  to  the  king,  to  inform  him  that 
vessels  had  been  seen  at  the  mercy  of  the  winds,  and  that 
there  were  many  appearances  of  shipwreck.  A  vessel  armed 
enjlute,  in  which  were  nine  hundred  men,  sunk  in  sight  of 
the  prince  of  Orange.  In  short,  the  hand  of  God  is  visible 
upon  this  fleet :  many  ships  may  return,  but  it  will  be  long 
before  they  will  be  able  to  do  any  mischief,  for  the  dispersion 
has  certainly  been  great,  and  has  happened  at  a  time  when  it 
was  least  expected  :  this  is  certainly  a  stroke  of  Providence. 
I  need  not  say  so  much  to  you  of  this  great  news,  for  the 
papers  are  full  of  it ;  but  as  we  are  so  too,  and  as  we  can  talk 
of  nothing  else,  it  flows  naturally  from  my  pen. 

Shall  I  give  you  another  instance  of  wounds  that  were  not 
received  at  the  siege  of  Philipsburg  ?  It  relates  to  the  Chev- 
alier de  Longueville  :  the  town  was  taken  ;  the  dauphin  had 
just  inspected  the  garrison,  the  little  chevalier  mounted  the 
back  of  the  trenches  to  look  at  something,  when,  a  soldier, 
aiming  at  a  woodcock,  shot  this  poor  child,  and  he  died  in 
consequence  the  next  day :  his  death  is  as  singular  as  his 


Paris,  Friday,  December  3,  1688. 
I   have   to  inform  you  to-day   that  the  king  made  yes- 
terday seventy-four  knights  of  the  order  of  the  Holy  Ghost, 

*  Charles-Louis  d'Orleans,  natural  son  of  Charles  Paris  d'Orleans, 
Duke  of  Longueville,  killed  in  crossing  the  Rhine  in  1672. 

MADAME     DE     GRIGNAN.  255 

of  which  I  send  you  the  list.  As  he  has  done  M.  de  Grignan 
the  honor  to  include  him,  and  as  you  will  receive  a  hundred 
thousand  congratulations  upon  the  occasion,  wiser  heads  than 
mine  advise  you  neither  to  say  nor  write  any  thing  that  may 
give  offense  to  any  of  your  companions  in  this  honor.  The 
best  way,  perhaps,  would  be  to  write  to  M.  de  Louvois,  and 
to  say  that  the  honor  he  had  done  you  of  inquiring  after  you 
by  your  courier  gives  you  the  privilege  of  thanking  him  ;  and 
that  wishing  to  believe,  on  the  subject  of  the  favor  the  king 
has  just  granted  to  M.  de  Grignan,  that  he  has  contributed 
toward  it  by  his  approbation  at  least,  you  return  him  thanks 
also  for  this.  You  will  give  this  a  better  turn  than  I  can  do ; 
and  it  will  do  no  injury  to  the  letter  M.  de  Grignan  should 
write.  The  particulars  of  what  passed  are  these  :  The  king 
said  to  M.  le  Grand  :*  "  The  count  de  Soissonsf  and  you  must 
n  agree  among  yourselves  with  respect  to  rank."  You  must 
know,  that  M.  le  Grand's  son  is  in  the  promotion,  which  is 
contrary  to  the  general  rules.  You  must  know,  also,  that  the 
king  said  to  the  dukes  that  he  had  read  their  memorial,  and  that 
he  found  that  the  house  of  Lorraine  had  taken  precedence  of 
them  on  several  occasions ;  and  so  it  is  decided.^  M.  le 
Grand  then  spoke  to  the  Cotrnt  de  Soissons ;  they  proposed  to 
draw  lots,  "  provided,"  said  the  count,  "  that  if  you  win  I 
pass  between  you  and  your  son."§  M.  le  Grand  would  not 
consent  to  this,  and  so  the  Count  de  Soissons  is  not  a  chev- 
alier. The  king  asked  M.  de  la  Tremouille  how  old  he  was  ? 
he  replied  that  he  was  thirty-three ;  the  king  excused  him 
two  years.  This  favor,  it  is  said,  which  has  given  some  of- 
fense to  the  principality,  has  not  been  estimated  as  it  ought 

*  Louis  de  Lorraine,  Count  d'Armagnac,  first  equerry  of  France. 

\  Louis  Thomas  de  Savoy,  Count  de  Soissons. 

%  It  is  related  that  the  Duke  of  Luxembourg  said  aloud  upon  this 
subject :  "  There  is  one  thing  I  can  not  comprehend."  "  And  what  ia 
that  ?"  said  the  king.     "  How  a  Bourbon  can  look  upon  a  Guise." 

§  Henry  de  Lorraine,  Count  de  Brionne. 

256  LETTERS     TO 

to  have  been.     However,  he  is  the  first  duke,  according  to 
the  precedence  of  his  dukedom.* 


Paris,  Monday,  December  6,  1688. 
Your  last  letter  has  an  air  of  gayety  and  expansion  of  heart 
which  convinces  me  that  Franckendal  is  taken,  and  that  he  is 
safe,  I  mean  the  marquis.  Enjoy  this  pleasure,  my  beloved 
child ;  your  son  sleeps  to-night  at  Claie  ;  you  see  he  will  pass 
through  Livri,  and  to-morrow  he  will  sup  with  us.  The  chev- 
alier, who  is  indeed  an  excellent  creature  in  all  respects,  is  re- 
turned from  Versailles ;  he  has  thanked  the  king,  and  it  has 
all  passed  off  well.  You  will  assume  the  blue  ribbon  on  the 
second  of  January  in  the  midst  of  Provence,  over  which  you 
have  the  command,  and  where  there  are  only  you  and  M. 
d' Aries  your  uncle.  This  distinction  and  remembrance  of  his 
majesty,  when  you  the  least  expected  it,  are  highly  gratifying ; 
even  the  compliments  you  receive  on  all  sides  are  not  like 
those  which  are  paid  to  others ;  it  is  to  little  purpose  to  say, 
"  Ah  this  !  ah  that !"  for  my  parij  I  say  on  this  subject,  as  on 
many  others,  "  What  is  good,  is  good ;"  you  will  lose  nothing ; 
and  when  we  think  of  those  who  are  in  despair,  we  consider 
ourselves  very  fortunate  to  be  in  the  recollection  of  a  master 
who  does  not  forget  the  services  that  are  rendered  him  both 
by  ourselves  and  our  children.  I  own  to  you  I  feel  this  joy 
thoroughly,  without  appearing  to  do  so.  The  chevalier  has  a 
great  desire  to  send  word  of  it  this  evening  to  our  marquis  at 
Claie,  who  will  not  be  insensible  to  it.  He  wishes  also  to  send 
you  your  blue  ribbon  with  two  Saint  Esprits,  because  the  time 
draws  on :  he  believes  you  to  have  your  grandfather'sf  cross 

*  Messieurs  de  la  Tremouille  had  the  highest  rauk  at  court,  as  being 
the  eldest  dukes,  and  Messieurs  d'Usez  the  highest  rank  in  the  parlia- 
ment as  being  the  eldest  peers. 

f  Louis  Castellane  de  Adhemar  de  Monteil,  received  knight  of  the 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN,  257 

at  Grignan ;  if  you  have  not,  you  would  be  at  a  loss  for  one. 
I  own  tbat  if  the  chevalier  had  not  forestalled  me,  I  should 
have  made  you  this  pretty  little  present ;  but  I  give  place  to 
him  in  every  thing.  The  favor  is  complete  by  the  permission 
of  not  attending  the  installation.  I  am  charged  with  a  hun- 
dred compliments;  Madame  de  Lesdiguieres,  Madame  de 
Mouci,  Madame  de  Lavardin,  M.  de  Harlai,  and  I  know  not 
how  many  others  I  could  name  ;  for  they  are  in  long  lists,  as 
when  you  gained  your  lawsuit.  Think  not,  my  dear  child, 
that  you  have  been  out  of  luck  for  the  last  three  months ;  I 
begin  with  your  gaining  your  cause  ;  then  the  preservation  of 
your  son  ;  his  early  reputation  ;  his  contusion  ;  the  beauty  of 
his  company,  to  which  you  contributed ;  and  I  conclude  with 
the  business  of  Avignon  and  the  blue  ribbon :  think  well  o^ 
this,  and  be  thankful  to  God. 


Paris,  Friday,  December  10,  1688. 
I  can  not  answer  your  letters  to-day,  as  they  came  so  late, 
and  I  answer  two  on  a  Monday.  The  marquis*  is  a  little  rus- 
tic, but  not  enough  so  to  render  him  ridiculous  ;  he  will  not 
have  so  fine  a  figure  as  his  father,  nor  is  it  to  be  expected ;  in 
other  respects  he  does  very  well,  answering  pertinently  to  every 
thing  that  is  asked  him,  like  a  man  of  good  sense,  who  has 
made  observations  and  sought  information  during  his  cam- 
paign ;  his  conversation  is  tinctured  with  modesty  and  recti- 
tude that  charm  us.  M.  du  Plessis  is  worthy  of  the  esteem 
you  bear  him.  We  take  our  meals  together  very  socially, 
amusing  ourselves  with  the  unjust  proceedings  we  sometimes 
adopt  against  one  another;  make  yourself  easy  upon  this 
score,  and  think  no  more  about  it ;  let  it  be  my  part  to  blush 

king's  orders  in  1584,  lieutenant-general  of  the  government  of  Prov 
ence,  was  M.  de  Grignan's  great-grandfather. 
*  The  son  of  Madame  de  Grignan. 

258  LETTERS    TO 

at  thinking  that  a  wren  is  a  heavy  burden  to  me :  I  own  I  am 
grieved  at  it,  but  we  must  submit  to  the  great  justice  of  pay- 
ing our  debts  :  no  one  understands  this  better  than  yourself ; 
you  have  also  kindness  enough  for  me  to  believe  that  I  am  not 
naturally  avaricious,  and  that  I  have  no  intention  to  hoard. 
When  you  are  here,  good  madam,  you  tutor  your  son  so  well, 
that  I  am  compelled  to  admire  you ;  but,  in  your  absence,  I 
undertake  to  teach  him  the  common  rules  of  conversation, 
which  it  is  important  to  know;  there  are  some  things  of 
which  we  ought  not  to  be  ignorant.  It  would  be  ridiculous  to 
appear  astonished  at  certain  events  which  are  the  topics  of  the 
day ;  I  am  sufficiently  acquainted  with  these  trifles.  I  also 
strongly  recommend  to  him  attention  to  what  others  say,  and 
the  presence  of  mind  by  which  we  quickly  comprehend  and 
answer ;  this  is  a  principal  object  in  our  intercourse  with  the 
world.  I  repeat  to  him  instances  of  miracles  of  this  kind 
which  Dangeau  related  to  us  the  other  day;  he  admires 
them,  and  I  lay  great  stress  upon  the  charms,  and  even  utility, 
of  this  sort  of  alertness  of  mind.  In  short,  I  obtain  the  chev- 
alier's approbation :  we  converse  together  on  books,  and  the 
misfortune  of  being  troubled  with  listlessness  and  want  of  em- 
ployment :  we  call  this  laziness  of  the  mind,  which  deprives 
us  of  a  taste  for  good  books  and  even  romances ;  as  this  is  an 
interesting  subject,  we  frequently  enter  upon  it.  Little  Au- 
vergne*  is  very  fond  of  reading ;  he  was  never  happy,  when 
with  the  army,  unless  he  had  a  book  in  his  hand.  God  knows 
whether  M.  du  Plessis  and  we  can  turn  this  fine  and  noble 
passion  to  account ;  we  are  willing  to  believe  the  marquis  sus- 
ceptible of  the  best  impressions ;  we  suffer  no  opportunity  to 
pass  unimproved  that  can  tend  to  inspire  him  with  so  desirable 
a  taste.  The  chevalier  is  of  more  use  to  this  dear  boy  than 
can  easily  be  imagined;  he  is  continually  striking  the  full 
chords  of  honor  and  reputation,  and  takes  an  interest  in  his 

*  Francis-Egon  de  la  Tour,  Prince  of  Auvergne,  who  quitted  the 
French  army  in  1702,  in  which  he  served  in  Germany,  to  enter  into 
the  service  of  the  emperor. 

MADAME     DE     GRIGSAN.  ^59 

affairs,  for  which  you  can  not  sufficiently  thank  him  :  he  enters 
into  every  thing,  attends  to  every  thing,  and  wishes  the  mar- 
quis to  regulate  his  own  accounts  and  incur  no  unnecessary 
expenses  ;  by  this  means,  he  endeavors  to  give  him  a  habit  of 
regularity  and  economy,  and  to  make  him  lay  aside  the  air  of 
grandeur,  of  "  what  does  it  signify,"  of  ignorance,  and  indiffer- 
ence, which  is  the  direct  path  to  every  kind  of  injustice,  and, 
at  length,  to  the  workhouse  :  can  there  be  any  obligation 
equal  to  that  of  training  up  your  son  in  these  principles  ?  For 
my  part,  I  am  charmed  with  it,  and  think  this  sort  of  educa- 
tion far  more  noble  than  any  other.  The  chevalier  is  a  little 
afflicted  with  the  gout :  he  will  go  to-morrow,  if  he  can,  to 
Versailles,  and  will  inform  you  of  the  situation  of  his  affairs. 
You  already  know  that  you  are  a  knight  of  the  order,  which 
is  a  very  desirable  thing  in  the  center  of  your  province,  and 
in  actual  service,  and  will  admirably  become  M.  de  Grignan's 
fine  figure :  there  will,  however,  be  no  one  to  dispute  it  with 
him  in  Provence,  for  he  will  not  be  envied  by  his  uncle,*  as 
this  title  does  not  go  out  of  the  family. 

La  Fayette  is  just  going  from  hence  ;  he  has  been  holding 
forth  a  full  hour  about  one  of  the  little  marquis's  friends.  He 
has  related  so  many  ridiculous  things  of  him  that  the  cheva- 
lier thinks  himself  obliged  to  mention  them  to  his  father,  who 
is  his  friend  ;  he  thanked  La  Fayette  for  his  intelligence,  for, 
in  fact,  there  is  nothing  of  so  much  consequence  as  being  in 
good  company,  and  it  often  happens  that,  without  being 
ridiculous  ourselves,  we  are  rendered  so  by  those  we  associate 
with.  Make  yourself  easy  upon  this  subject,  the  chevalier  will 
set  matters  right.  I  shall  be  very  much  mortified  if  he  can 
not  present  his  nephew  on  Sunday  ;  this  gout  is  a  great  draw- 
back upon  our  happiness.  With  respect  to  Paulina,  can  you, 
my  dear  child,  expect  her  to  be  perfect  ?  She  is  not  mild  in 
her  own  apartment ;  many  persons  who  are  very  much  be- 
loved and  respected,  have  had  the  same  fault.     I  think  you 

*  The  archbishop  of  Aries  was  commander  of  the  royal  orders  o** 

260  LETTERS    TO 

may  easily  correct  it ;  but  take  particular  care  not  to  scold  and 
humiliate  her.  All  my  friends  load  me  with  a  thousand  com 
pliments  and  a  thousand  regards  to  you.  Madame  de  Lavar- 
din  called  upon  me  yesterday,  to  tell  me  she  esteemed  you  too 
highly  to  send  you  compliments ;  but  that  she  embraced  you 
with  all  her  heart,  and  the  great  Count  de  Grignan — these 
were  her  words.     You  have  great  reason  to  love  her. 

What  I  am  going  to  relate  is  a  fact.  Madame  de  Brinon, 
the  very  soul  of  St.  Cyr,  and  the  intimate  friend  of  Madame 
de  Maintenon,  is  no  longer  at  St.  Cyr  ;*  she  quitted  that  place 
four  days  ago  ;  Madame  Hanover,  who  loves  her,  brought  her 
back  to  the  Hotel  de  Guise,  where  she  still  remains.  There 
does  not  seem  to  be  any  misunderstanding  between  her  and 
Madame  de  Maintenon,  for  she  sends  every  day  to  inquire  after 
her  health  ;  this  increases  our  curiosity  to  know  the  subject  of 
her  disgrace.  Every  one  is  whispering  about  it  without  know- 
ing more.  If  this  affair  should  be  cleared  up,  I  will  inform 
you  of  the  circumstances. 


Paris,  Friday,  Decemer  31,  1688. 
Per  torner  dunque  al  nostro  proposito,\  I  must  tell  you,  my 
child,  that  all  the  uncertainties  of  the  day  before  yesterday, 

*  Madame  de  Brinon,  at  that  time  of  the  first  establishment  of  St. 
Cyr,  was  placed  at  the  head  of  that  house.  She  had  great  learning  and 
talents,  but  an  equal  portion  of  pride  and  ambition.  The  superior  only 
of  the  house,  she  assumed  the  airs  of  an  abbess.  She  displayed  the 
most  offensive  ostentation ;  she  held  a  court ;  she  opposed  Madame  de 
Maintenon,  whose  dependent  she  was.  These  things  offended  the 
king,  as  well  as  her  benefactress.  A  lettre  de  cachet  obliged  her  to 
leave  St.  Cyr  in  twenty-four  hours. 

The  Duchess  of  Hanover,  who  received  her,  and  who  was  the  daugh- 
ter of  the  celebrated  princess  palatine,  was  soon  disgusted  with  Madame 
de  Brinon,  who  retired  to  the  Abbey  of  Maubuisson,  and  died  there,  re- 
gretting the  world,  regretting  St.  Cyr,  and  regretting  life. 

f  To  return  then  to  our  proposition. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  261 

which  seemed  to  be  fixed  by  the  assurances  M.  de  Lamoignon 
gave  us  that  the  King  of  England  was  at  Calais,  are  now 
changed  into  the  certainty  that  he  is  detained  in  England ; 
and  that  if  this  ill  fortune  has  not  befallen  him,  he  has  per- 
ished ;  for  he  was  to  make  his  escape,  and  embark  a  few  hours 
after  the  queen.  So,  that  though  we  have  no  certain  intelli- 
gence of  his  being  arrested,  there  is  not  a  single  person  who 
does  not  now  credit  it.  Such  is  our  situation  ;  and  such  the 
way  in  which  we  are  closing  the  present  year,  and  entering 
upon  that  of  '89  ;  a  year  marked  out  by  extraordinary  pre- 
dictions, as  pregnant  with  great  events.  Not  one,  however, 
will  take  place  that  is  not  agreeable  to  the  order  of  Provi- 
dence, like  all  our  actions,  and  all  our  journeyings.  We  must 
submit  to  every  thing,  and  look  boldly  in  the  face  of  futurity  ; 
this  is  going  a  great  way. 

In  the  mean  while,  count,  I  address  myself  to  you.  Yes- 
terday the  Knights  of  St.  Michael  went  through  the  ceremony 
with  several  of  those  of  the  order  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  at  the 
hour  I  mentioned  to  you  after  vespers,  and  to-morrow  the  rest 
will  do  the  same.  The  chevalier  will  inform  you  how  it  is 
managed  with  respect  to  the  absentees.  You  must  make 
your  profession  of  faith,  and  give  an  account  of  your  life  and 
manners.  Of  this  you  will  be  duly  informed ;  you  are  not 
the  only  one  ;  and  in  the  mean  time  hold  off,  fair  and  softly. 
Yesterday,  M.  de  Chevreuse,  of  the  order  of  St.  Michael, 
passed  before  M.  de  la  Rochefoucault,  who  said  to  him,  "  Sir, 
you  pass  before  me,  which  you  have  no  right  to  do."  M.  de 
Chevreuse  replied,  "  Sir,  I  have  a  right,  for  I  am  Duke  de 
Luynes."  "  Oh,  sir,"  rejoined  the  other,  "  in  this  respect  I 
yield  to  you."  The  gazette  will  inform  you,  my  dear  count, 
that  M.  de  Luynes  has  given  this  duchy  to  his  son,  with  the 
king's  permission ;  and  M.  de  Chevreuse,  who  will  hencefor- 
ward be  called  M.  de  Luynes,  the  duchy  of  Chevreuse  to  his 
son,  who  will  be  styled  Duke  de  Montfort.  Your  son's  com- 
rades are  highly  distinguished  by  titles.  It  is  said  that  some 
troops  are  to  be  sent  into  Brittany  with  M.  de  Momont,  Major- 

262  LETTERS    TO 

General,  to  be  under  the  command  of  M.  de  Chauln:«s ;  there 
will  be  encampments  in  all  the  provinces.     You  need  only 
refer  to  the  map,  to  judge  whether  we  have  occasion  to  be  on 
our  guard  on  all  sides ;  cast  your  eyes  for  a  moment  over  all 
Europe.     Madame  de  Barillon  is  very  uneasy  respecting  her 
husband  ;*  but  it  is  said  at  random,  for  no  letters  arrive,  that 
lie  is  safe,  though  the  chapel  of  the  King  of  England  has  been 
pulled  down,  as  well  as  that  belonging  to  the  embassador's 
household.     Time  will    clear  up   all  this.     But  who  am  I 
speaking  to  ?  is  it  still  to  this  count  ?     My  dear  child,  your 
good  lady,  who  swore  she  would  not  touch  a  card  till  the 
King  of  England  had  won  a  battle,  will  not  probably  play 
again  for  a  long  time.     Poor  woman  !     The  Prince  of  Orange 
is  in  London — this  is  still  the  subject  of  my  letter,  as  it  is  of 
all  conversation,  for  every  one  considers  himself  as  concerned 
in  this  great  scene.     The  queen  is  still  in  a  convent  at  Bou- 
logne, always  in  tears  at  the  absence  of  her  husband,  whom 
she  passionately  loves. 

Madame  de  Brinon  is  quite  forgotten.  A  new  comedy  is 
said  to  be  in  rehearsal,  which  is  to  be  represented  at  St.  Cyr, 
and  is  called  Esther.  The  carnival  does  not  promise  to  be 
very  gay.  My  son's  letters  are  constantly  filled  with  the  most 
affectionate  sentiments  for  you  and  M.  de  Grignan.  We  ex- 
pect your  letters,  but  probably  shall  not  answer  them  till  Mon- 
day. The  chevalier  and  I  have  very  long  conversations  about 
you ;  he  is  tolerably  well,  and  when  your  son  returns  from 
Chalons,  he  intends  to  accompany  him  to  Versailles.  The 
good  Corbinelli  exhausts  his  rhetoric  upon  the  present  situa- 
tion of  affairs,  and  at  the  same  time  adores  you.  Adieu,  my 
lovely  child ;  I  embrace  you  a  thousand  times,  and  wish  you  a 
happy  year  in  that  of  1689. 

*  M.  de  Barillon  was  the  French  Embassador  to  England. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  263 


Paris,  Monday,  January  3,  1689. 
Your  dear  son  arrived  this  morning.  We  were  delighted 
to  see  him  and  M.  du  PleSsis  ;  we  were  at  dinner  when  they 
came,  and  they  ate  very  heartily  of  our  repast,  which  was  al- 
ready somewhat  impaired.  Oh,  that  you  could  have  heard  all 
the  marquis  said  of  the  beauty  of  his  company  !  He  first  asked 
if  the  company  was  arrived ;  and  on  the  question,  whether  it 
was  a  fine  one,  this  was  the  answer  he  received :  "  Indeed,  sir, 
it  is ;  it  is  one  of  the  finest  that  ever  was  seen ;  it  is  an  old 
company,  and  more  to  be  prized  than  the  new  ones?  You 
may  guess  the  effect  such  an  encomium  must  have  on  a  person 
who  was  not  known  to  be  the  captain.  Our  boy  was  in  rap- 
tures the  next  day  at  the  sight  of  his  noble  company  mounted ; 
the  men,  made  on  purpose,  as  it  were,  and  selected  by  you, 
and  the  horses  .cast  in  the  same  mold,  gave  him  such  high 
spirits,  that  M.  de  Chalons*  and  Madame  de  Noailles  (his 
mother)  entered  into  his  feelings  of  joy.  He  has  been  received 
by  these  pious  persons  as  the  son  of  M.  de  Grignan ;  but  why 
do  I  tell  you  all  this  ?  it  is  the  marquis'  business. 


Paris,  Wednesday,  January  5,  1689. 
I  took  the  marquis  with  me  yesterday ;  we  began  by  visiting 
M.  de  la  Trousse,  who  was  so  obliging  as  to  put  on  the  dresses 
of  the  novice  and  professor,  as  on  the  ceremonial  day ;  these 
two  habits  set  off  a  fine  figure  to  advantage.  A  foolish 
thought,  without  considering  consequences,  made  me  regret 
that  the  fine  shape  of  M.  de  Grignan  had  not  shone  upon  this 
occasion.     The  page's  dress  is  very  becoming ;  and  I  am  not 

*  Louis  Antoine  de  Noailles,  Bishop  de  Chalons  sur  Marne,  after- 
ward Archbishop  and  Cardinal  of  Paris. 

264  LETTERS    TO 

at  all  surprised  that  the  Princess  of  Cleves  should  fall  in  love 
with  M.  de  Nemours  and  his  handsome  legs.*  The  mantle 
has  all  the  magnificence  of  royalty ;  it  cost  La  Trousse  800 
pistoles,  for  he  purchased  it.  After  having  viewed  this  pretty 
masquerade,  I  took  your  son  to  all  the  ladies  in  the  neighbor- 
hood. Madame  de  Vaubecourt  and  Madame  Oilier  received 
him  with  great  politeness ;  he  will  soon  pay  visits  upon  his 
own  account. 

The  Life  of  St.  Louis  has  induced  me  to  read  Mezerai ;  I 
was  willing  to  take  a  view  of  the  last  kings  of  the  second  race, 
and  I  want  to  unite  Philip  de  Valois  with  King  John  ;  this  is 
an  admirable  period  of  history,  upon  which  the  Abbe  de  Choisi 
has  written  a  book  that  may  be  read  with  interest.  We  en- 
deavor to  beat  into  your  son's  head  the  necessity  of  being  a 
little  acquainted  with  what  has  passed  before  his  time ;  and  it 
will  have  effect ;  but,  in  the  mean  while,  there  are  many  rea- 
sons for  paying  attention  to  what  is  passing  at  present.  You 
will  see  by  the  news  of  to-day  how  the  King*  of  England  es- 
caped from  London,  apparently  with  the  consent  of  the  Prince 
of  Orange.  Politicians  reason  upon  this  subject,  and  ask  if  it 
be  more  advantageous  for  this  king  to  be  in  France ;  some  say 
Yes,  because  he  is  here  in  security,  and  will  not  run  the  risk 
of  being  compelled  to  give  up  his  wife  and  child,  or  lose  his 
head  ;  others  say  No,  because  he  leaves  the  Prince  of  Orange 
to  enjoy  the  protectorship,  and  be  adored,  having  made  his 
way  to  it  naturally,  and  without  bloodshed.  It  is  certain  that 
war  will  soon  be  declared  against  us,  or  perhaps,  even  we  may 
declare  it  first.  If  we  make  peace  in  Italy  and  Germany,  we 
may  apply  ourselves  with  greater  attention  to  the  English  and 
Dutch  war;  this  is  to  be  hoped,  for  it  would  be  too  much  to 
have  enemies  on  all  sides.  You  see  whither  my  rambling  pen 
leads  me  ;  but  you  may  easily  suppose  that  all  conversations 
turn  upon  these  great  events. 

*  Allusion  to  Madame  de  la  Fayette's  romance. 

MADAME    DE     6RIGNAN.  265 


Paris,  Monday,  January  10,  1689. 

We  often  stumble  upon  the  same  ideas,  my  dear  child  ;  [ 
even  think  that  I  wrote  to  you  from  the  Rocks  what  you  say 
in  your  last  letter  respecting  time.  I  now  consent  that  it 
should  fly ;  the  days  have  no  longer  any  thing  so  dear  and 
precious  for  me  as  I  found  them  to  contain  when  you  were  at 
the  Hotel  de  Carnavalet.  I  enjoyed,  I  made  the  most  of  every 
hour ;  I  treasured  it  as  a  miser  does  his  gold  ;  but  in  absence, 
the  case  is  different ;  time  can  not  fly  fast  enough  till  the 
wished-for  period  arrives  ;  we  hurry  it  along,  and  would  will- 
ingly dispose  of  all  the  intermediate  space  in  favor  of  the  days 
to  which  we  aspire ;  it  is  a  piece  of  tapestry  which  we  are 
eager  to  finish  ;  we  are  lavish  of  hours,  and  bestow  them  on 
any  one.  But  I  own  that  when  I  reflect  on  the  point  to 
which  this  profusion  of  hours  and  days  leads  me,  I  tremble. 
I  am  no  longer  certain  of  any,  and  reason  presents  me  with 
the  image  of  what  I  am  certain  to  find  in  my  way.  My  child, 
I  will  put  an  end  to  these  reflections  with  you,  and  endeavor 
to  turn  them  to  my  own  advantage. 

The  Abbe  Tetu  is  in  an  alarming  way  for  want  of  sleep. 
The  physicians  would  not  answer  for  his  intellects.  He  is  sen- 
sible of  his  situation,  which  is  an  additional  calamity :  he  is 
kept  alive  merely  by  opium  :  he  seeks  for  diversion  and  amuse- 
ment, and  accordingly  frequents  public  places.  We  want  him 
to  go  to  Versailles  to  see  the  King  and  Queen  of  England,  and 
the  Prince  of  Wales.  Can  there  be  a  grander  spectacle,  or 
one  more  capable  of  affording  the  highest  interest  ?  It  appears 
that  the  Prince  of  Orange  favored  the  king's  flight.  The  king 
was  sent  to  Exeter,  where  it  was  his  intention  to  go  ;  the  front 
of  his  house  was  well  guarded,  and  all  the  back  doors  left 
open.  The  prince  was  not  inclined  to  sacrifice  his  father-in- 
law.  He  remains  in  London  in  the  place  of  the  king,  without 
taking  upon  himself  the  title,  being  only  desirous  of  restoring 
what  he  thinks  the  true  religion,  and  supporting  the  laws  o/ 


266  LETTERS    TO 

the  country,  without  spilling  a  drop  of  blood  :  this  is  precisely 
the  reverse  of  what  we  thought  of  him  ;  we  see  him  in  a  very 
different  point  of  view.  Our  king,  however,  acts  in  a  manner 
almost  divine  with  respect  to  their  Brittanic  Majesties  ;  for  is 
it  not  being  the  representative  of  the  Almighty  to  support  a 
king  banished,  betrayed,  and  abandoned  ?  The  noble  ambition 
of  our  sovereign  is  gratified  by  acting  this  part.  He  went  to 
meet  the  queen,  with  all  his  household,  and  a  hundred  coaches 
and  six.  When  he  perceived  the  Prince  of  Wales's  car- 
riage, he  alighted  and  affectionately  embraced  him  ;  he  then 
ran  to  the  queen,  who  was  by  this  time  alighted  ;  he  saluted 
her,  talked  with  her  some  time,  placed  her  at  his  right  hand 
in  his  carriage,  and  presented  the  dauphin  and  monsieur  to 
her,  who  were  also  in  the  carriage,  and  conducted  her  to  St. 
Germain,  where  she  found  every  thing  prepared  for  her  like  a 
queen — all  sorts  of  apparel,  and  a  rich  casket  containing  six 
thousand  louis-d'ors.  The  King  of  England  was  expected  the 
next  day  at  St.  Germain,  where  the  king  waited  for  him.  He 
arrived  late.  His  majesty  went  to  the  end  of  the  guard-room 
to  meet  him  ;  the  King  of  England  made  an  inclination  as  if 
to  embrace  his  knees,  but  the  king  prevented  him,  and  em- 
braced him  three  or  four  times  very  cordially.  They  talked 
together  in  a  low  voice  for  nearly  a  quarter  of  an  hour ;  the 
king  presented  the  dauphin  and  monsieur  to  him,  the  princes 
of  the  blood,  and  Cardinal  de  Bonzi.  He  conducted  him  to 
the  queen's  apartment,  who  could  scarcely  refrain  from  tears. 
After  a  conversation  of  a  few  minutes  his  majesty  led  them  to 
the  apartment  of  the  Prince  of  Wales,  where  they  again  con- 
versed for  some  time,  and  he  then  withdrew,  not  choosing  to 
be  attended  back,  saying  to  the  king,  "  This  is  your  house ; 
when  I  come  you  will  do  the  honors  of  it,  and  I  will  do  the 
honors  of  mine  when  you  come  to  Versailles."  The  next  day, 
which  was  yesterday,  the  dauphiness  went  there  with  all  the 
court.  I  know  not  how  they  regulated  the  chairs,  for  they 
had  those  belonging  to  the  Queen  of  Spain  ;  and  the  Queen- 
mother  of  England  was  treated  as  a  daughter  of  France :  I 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  267 

shall  hereafter  send  you  these  particulars.  His  majesty  sent 
the  King  of  England  ten  thousand  louis-d'ors ;  the  latter  looks 
old  and  fatigued;  the  queen  is  thin,  with  fine  black  eyes 
swelled  with  weeping ;  a  fine  complexion,  but  rather  pale  ;  a 
large  mouth,  beautiful  teeth,  a  fine  figure,  and  a  great  share  of 
sense  ;  no  wonder  if  with  all  these  she  pleases  every  one  who 
beholds  her.  Here  is  matter  for  general  conversation  that 
will  not  soon  be  exhausted. 

The  poor  chevalier  can  neither  write  nor  go  to  Versailles, 
which  grieves  us  sadly,  as  he  has  a  thousand  things  to  do 
there ;  but  he  is  not  ill :  on  Saturday  he  supped  with  Madame 
de  Coulanges,  Madame  de  Vauvineux,  M.  de  Duras,  and  your 
son,  at  the  lieutenant's,  where  the  healths  of  the  first  and  sec- 
ond were  drank,  that  is  to  say,  Madame  de  la  Fayette's  and 
yours,  for  you  have  yielded  to  the  date  of  friendship.  Yester- 
day Madame  de  Coulanges  gave  a  very  pretty  supper  to  the 
gouty  gentlemen,  the  Abbe  de  Marsillac,  the  Chevalier  de 
Grignan,  and  M.  de  Lamoignon,  whose  nephritic  complaints 
stood  him  in  stead  of  the  gout ;  his  wife  and  the  divinities 
were  admitted  in  consequence  of  colds  which  they  are  never 
without ;  I  in  consideration  of  the  rheumatism  I  had  twelve 
years  ago,  and  Coulanges,  for  deserving  to  have  the  gout. 
There  was  no  scarcity  of  conversation ;  the  little  man  sung, 
and  gave  the  Abbe  de  Marsillac  great  pleasure,  which  he 
expressed  by  his  admiration,  and  by  imitating  the  tones  and  man- 
ners, which  reminded  me  so  strongly  of  his  father  that  I  could 
not  help  being  affected.  Your  son  was  at  the  Mesdemoiselles 
de  Castelnau's.  There  is  a  younger  sister,  very  pretty  and  very 
agreeable,  who  is  quite  to  your  son's  taste,  and  he  leaves  the 
squint-eyed  girl  to  Sanzei ;  he  took  a  hautboy  with  him,  and 
they  danced  till  midnight.  This  society  is  very  pleasant  to 
the  marquis,  as  he  meets  St.  Herein,  Janin,  Choiseul,  and 
Ninon  there ;  so  that  he  is  not  in  a  foreign  country.  The 
chevalier  does  not  seem  to  be  in  haste  to  marry  him,  nor  does 
M.  de  Lamoignon  seem  very  desirous  of  marrying  his  daugh- 
ter.    We  can  say  nothing  with  respect  to  the  marriage  of  M 

268  LETTERS     TO 

de  Mirepoix,*  this  is  the  work  of  M.  de  Montfort :  people 
seem  to  be  infatuated,  or  else  their  heads  are  turned,  for  they 
do  not  think  as  they  used  to  do ;  in  short,  this  man  seems  im- 
pelled by  his  destiny,  and  what  can  be  done  in  such  a  case  ? 

M.  de  Lauzun  is  not  gone  back  to  England  ;  he  has  an 
apartment  at  Versailles,  and  is  perfectly  satisfied ;  he  has  writ- 
ten to  Mademoiselle  to  have  the  honor  of  seeing  her,  which 
has  given  her  great  offense.  I  have  performed  a  master-piece ; 
T  have  been  to  visit  Madame  de  Ricouart,  who  is  lately  re- 
turned, very  well  pleased  at  being  a  widow.  You  have 
nothing  to  do  but  appoint  me  to  complete  your  acknowledg- 
ments, like  your  romances,  do  you  recollect  ?  I  thank  the 
amiable  Paulina  for  her  letter ;  I  am  confident  her  person 
would  please  me  ;  so  she  could  then  find  no  appellation  for  me 
but  that  of  madam  ?\  this  is  being  very  serious.  Adieu,  my 
dear  child ;  preserve  your  health,  in  other  words,  your  beauty, 
which  I  so  much  admire. 


Paris,  Wednesday,  January  12,  1689. 
You  retired  then  at  five  o'clock  in  the  afternoon ;  you  drew 
king  and  queen  at  dinner ;  you  were  in  as  good  company  as 

*  G-aston  John  Baptist  de  Levis,  Marquis  de  Mirepoix,  married,  Janu- 
ary 16,  1689,  to  Anne  Charlotte  Maria  de  Saint  Nectaire,  daughter  of 
Henry  Francis,  Duke  de  la  Ferte,  and  of  Mary  Gabriel  Angelica  de  la 
Mothe  Houdan court. 

f  It  must  have  been  observed  that  the  Marquis  de  Grignan  followed 
this  etiquette  with  his  mother,  which  was  the  custom  among  persona 
of  high  rank,  and  particularly  in  the  southern  provinces,  where  the  Ro- 
man laws  gave  fathers  an  absolute  power  over  their  children,  which  in- 
spired children  with  more  respect  than  love,  and  exacted  the  forms  of 
submission,  even  in  the  overflowings  of  the  heart.  Madame  de  Sevigne 
was  averse  to  this  false  dignity,  the  most  gloomy  mask  that  love  can 
assume  ;  and  it  has  been  seen  that  she  even  laughed  at  her  (laughter, 
who,  in  speaking  of  her  grandfather,  had  written  to  her,  monsieur  voi/rt 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  269 

at  Paris.  It  will  not  be  my  fault  if  the  archbishop  (of  Aix) 
does  not  know  that  you  are  satisfied  with  him ;  I  informed 
Madame  de  la  Fayette  of  this  the  other  day,  who  was  much 
pleased  with  the  information ;  she  enjoins  you  both  to  lay 
aside  the  spirit  and  way  of  thinking  of  Provence.  But  to 
come  to  the  King  and  Queen  of  England.  It  is  so  extraordi- 
nary to  have  this  court  here,  that  it  is  the  constant  subject  of 
conversation.  The  regulation  of  rank  and  precedency  is  to  be 
attended  to,  in  order  to  render  life  agreeable  to  those  who  are 
so  unlikely  to  be  restored.  This  the  king  said  the  other  day, 
adding  that  the  English  king  was  the  best  man  in  the  world ; 
that  he  should  hunt  with  him  ;  that  he  should  come  to  Marli 
and  Trianon ;  and  that  the  courtiers  should  habituate  them- 
selves to  him.  The  King  of  England  does  not  give  his  hand 
to  the  dauphin,  and  does  not  reconduct  him.  The  queen  has 
not  kissed  monsieur,  who  is  offended  at  this ;  she  said  to  the 
king, "  Tell  me  what  you  wish  me  to  do  ;  if  you  would  have  me 
follow  the  French  fashion,  I  will  salute  whom  you  please ;  but 
it  is  not  the  custom  in  England  to  salute  any  one."  She  paid 
a  visit  to  the  dauphiness,  who  was  ill,  and  who  received  her  in 
bed.  No  one  sits  in  England  ;  I  believe  the  duchesses  will 
follow  the  French  fashion,  and  behave  to  her  as  they  did  to 
her  mother-in-law.*  We  are  greatly  taken  up  with  this  new 

In  the  mean  time,  the  Prince  of  Orange  is  in  London,  where 
he  has  imprisoned  several  lords ;  he  is  severe,  and  will  soon 
make  himself  hated.  M.  Schomberg  is  commander-in-chief  in 
Holland,  in  the  room  of  this  prince,  and  his  son  is  to  have  the 
reversion  :  so  the  mask  is  now  completely  thrown  off. 

pere.  Every  one  knows  the  humorous  speech  of  the  great  Conde,  be- 
fore a  man  who  affected  to  say  Monsieur  and  Madame  in  speaking  of 
his  relations :  "Monsieur  my  groom,  go  and  tell  monsieur  my  coach- 
man, to  put  messieurs  my  horses  to  monsieur  my  coach." 

*  Henrietta  of  France,  daughter  of  Henry  IV.,  and  wife  of  Charles  L 
King  of  England. 

270  LETTERS    TO 


Paris,  Friday,  January  14,  1689. 

I  have  dined,  my  dear  child,  and  am  now  in  the  chevalier's 
apartment ;  he  is  in  his  chair,  with  a  thousand  little  aches  and 
pains  that  fly  about  him.  He  has  slept  well ;  but  this  con- 
finement affects  his  spirits,  and  vexes  him  exceedingly ;  I  too 
am  grieved  at  it,  as  I  know  the  ill  consequences  better  than 
any  one.  It  is  very  cold ;  the  thermometer  is  at  the  lowest 
degree ;  our  river  is  frozen ;  it  snows,  freezes,  and  thaws  at 
the  same  time ;  there  is  no  walking  in  the  streets ;  I  keep  to 
the  house,  and  to  the  chevalier's  chamber.  If  I  could  have  an 
answer  from  you  before  the  end  of  a  fortnight,  I  would  desire 
you  to  tell  me  whether  I  do  not  incommode  him,  by  staying 
with  him  all  day ;  but  as  I  have  no  time  to  lose,  I  put  this 
question  to  himself,  and  I  fancy  he  is  not  displeased  at  it.  The 
weather  is  an  additional  cause  of  his  illness ;  it  is  not  the  sort 
he  likes  ;  it  is  always  unfavorable  when  it  is  extreme. 

M.  de  Gobelin  is  still  at  St.  Cyr ;  Madame  de  Brinon  is  at 
Maubuisson,  where  she  will  soon  be  tired  ;  she  can  never  re- 
main long  in  a  place ;  she  has  made  many  agreements,  and 
been  in  several  convents ;  her  good  sense  does  not  screen  her 
from  this  error.  Madame  de  Maintenon  is  much  pleased  with 
the  comedy*  which  she  has  made  her  young  ladies  of  St.  Cyr 

*  It  was  the  Superieure  Brinon  who  first  made  the  pensioners  of  St. 
Cyr  perform  pieces  of  her  selection.  They  were  ill  chosen.  Cinna, 
and  afterward  Andromache,  were  substituted  in  their  room.  But  there 
was  so  much  love  in  this  last  tragedy,  and  the  young  ladies  played  it  so 
well,  that  it  was  not  judged  proper  for  their  representation.  This  was 
what  Madame  de  Maintenon  wrote  herself  to  Racine,  at  the  same  time 
desiring  him  to  supply  another  poem,  moral  or  historical.  Racine  hes- 
itated: he  wished  to  please  the  court,  but  the  public  and  posterity 
withheld  him.  He  deemed  it  impossible  to  fill  the  frame  that  was  given 
him,  by  a  performance  worthy  of  his  music.  Boileau,  too,  despaired  of 
it.  Racine  thought  of  the  subject  of  Esther ;  and  his  friend  considered 
it  well  judged,  as  it  really  was.  This  very  Boileau,  the  severity  of 
whose  taste  and  character  made  him  so  much  aspersed,  gave,  in  hia 

MADAME    DE     6RIGNAN.  271 

perform  ;  it  will  be  a  very  fine  piece  according  to  report. 
She  has  paid  a  visit  to  the  Queen  of  England,  who,  having 
made  her  wait  a  moment,  said  she  was  very  sorry  she  had  lost 
any  time  in  seeing  and  conversing  with  her,  and  received  her 
extremely  well.  Every  one  is  pleased  with  this  queen  ;  she 
has  an  excellent  understanding.  She  said  to  the  king,  on  see- 
ing him  caress  the  Prince  of  Wales,  who  is  a  lovely  child,  "I 
formerly  envied  the  happiness  of  my  son,  in  not  feeling  his 
misfortunes ;  but  I  now  pity  him,  for  being  insensible  to  your 
majesty's  caresses  and  kindness."  All  she  says  is  proper  and 
to  the  purpose  ;  but  this  is  not  the  case  with  her  husband : 
he  has  a  great  share  of  courage,  but  his  understanding  is  not 
above  the  common  standard ;  he  relates  what  has  passed  in 
England  with  an  insensibility  that  excites  the  same  feeling 
for  himself.  He  is  a  good  man,*  and  partakes  of  all  the 
amusements  of  Versailles.  The  dauphiness  does  not  intend 
to  visit  this  queen ;  she  wants  her  right  hand  seat  and  chair 
of  state,  which  can  not  be ;  she  will  therefore  be  always  in 
bed,  when  the  queen  visits  her.  Madame  is  to  have  an  arm- 
chair upon  the  left  hand,  and  the  princesses  of  the  blood  are 
to  visit  with  her ;  before  whom  they  have  tabourets  only.  The 
duchesses  will  be  upon  the  same  footing  as  at  the  dauphiness's ; 
this  is  settled.  The  king,  knowing  that  a  king  of  France  gave 
a  Prince  of  Wales  only  a  chair  on  the  left  hand,  chooses  that 
the  King  of  England  should  treat  the  dauphin  in  the  same 
manner,  and  precede  him.  He  is  to  receive  Monsieur  without 
chair  or  ceremony.  The  queen  has  saluted  him,  saying  to  our 
sovereign  what  I  told  you.  It  is  not  yet  certain  that  M.  de 
Schomberg  is  to  succeed  the  Prince  of  Orange  in  Holland. 
This  is  a  year  of  falsehood. 

regard  for  Racine,  the  most  perfect  example  of  friendship — an  example 
perhaps,  that  will  never  again  be  met  with  between  two  men  gifted 
with  the  same  kind  of  superiority. 

*  The  Archbishop  of  Rheims,  brother  of  M.  de  Louvois,  seeing  him 
come  out  of  the  chapel  of  Versailles,  said:  M  "What  a  good  man!  he  has 
given  up  three  kingdoms  for  a  mass." 

272  LETTERS    TO 


Paris,  Monday,  January  IT,  1689. 

My  letter,  then,  is  dignified  with  a  title  ;  this  is  a  proof  of 
its  singular  merit.  I  am  glad  my  story  amused  you.  I  can 
never  guess  at  the  effect  my  letters  will  produce,  but  this  has 
been  a  happy  one. 

If  you  sought  an  opportunity  of  coming  to  an  explanation 
with  the  archbishop,  instead  of  suffering  the  misunderstanding 
which  people  endeavor  to  create  between  you  to  ferment,  a 
short  time  would  clear  up  the  whole,  or  you  would  silence 
chatterers ;  either  of  these  is  desirable,  and  you  will  find  good 
result  from  it ;  you  will  put  an  end,  it  is  true,  to  the  amuse- 
ments of  the  Provencals ;  but  it  is  only  silencing  ridiculous 
impertinence.  M.  de  Barillon  is  arrived  ;  he  has  found  a  fam- 
ily group,  with  many  of  whose  faces  he  was  not  acquainted. 
He  is  grown  very  fat,  and  said  to  M.  de  Harlai,  "  Sir,  do  not 
remind  me  of  my  fat,  and  I  will  say  nothing  to  you  of  your 
lean."  He  is  very  lively,  and  much  of  the  same  disposition 
as  his  namesake  whom  you  know.  I  will  pay  all  your  com- 
pliments to  him,  when  they  will  not  appear  forced  ;  I  have 
done  so  with  regard  to  Madame  de  Sully,  who  returns  you  a 
thousand  with  a  very  good  grace ;  and  to  the  countess,*  who 
is  too  witty  upon  M.  de  Lauzun,  whom  she  wished  to  raise  to 
the  pinnacle  of  honor,  and  who  has  neither  an  apartment  at 
Versailles,  nor  the  free  admittance  he  formerly  had.  He  is 
merely  returned  to  court,  and  his  exploit  does  not  appear  so 
extraordinary,  though  a  very  pretty  romance  was  at  first  made 
out  of  it. 

The  English  court  is  quite  established  at  St.  Germain  ;  they 
would  not  accept  more  than  15,000  livres  a  month,  and  have 
regulated  their  court  upon  that  foundation.  The  queen  is 
very  much  liked ;  our  king  converses  very  pleasantly  with 

*  The  Countess  de  Fiesque,  the  constant  friend  of  M.  de  Lauzun, 
and  who  often  performed  the  part  of  mediatrix  between  him  and 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  273 

her ;  she  has  good  sense  without  affectation.  The  king 
wished  the  dauphiness  to  pay  her  the  first  visit,  but  she  was 
always  so  conveniently  indisposed,  that  this  queen  paid  her  a 
visit  three  days  ago,  admirably  dressed  ;  a  black  velvet  robe, 
a  beautiful  petticoat,  her  hair  tastefully  disposed,  a  figure  like 
the  Princess  de  Conti's,  and  great  dignity  of  manner.  The 
king  received  her  as  she  alighted ;  she  went  first  into  his 
apartment,  where  she  had  a  chair  below  the  king's ;  here  she 
remained  half  an  hour ;  he  then  conducted  her  to  the  dau- 
phiness, who  was  up ;  this  occasioned  a  little  surprise ;  the 
queen  said  to  her,  "  I  expected  to  have  found  you  in  bed, 
madam."  "  I  wished  to  rise,  madam,"  replied  the  dauphiness, 
"  to  receive  the  honor  your  majesty  does  me."  The  king  left 
them,  as  the  dauphiness  has  no  chair  in  his  presence.  The 
queen  took  her  place,  with  the  dauphiness  on  her  right  hand, 
madame  on  her  left,  and  there  were  three  other  chairs  for  the 
three  young  princes.  They  conversed  together  for  upward 
of  half  an  hour ;  several  duchesses  were  present,  and  the  court 
was  very  numerous.  At  length  she  retired ;  the  king  gave 
orders  to  be  informed  of  it,  and  handed  her  back  to  her  car- 
riage. I  do  not  know  how  far  the  dauphiness  went  with  her, 
but  I  shall  hear.  The  king,  upon  his  return,  highly  praised 
the  queen ;  he  said,  "  This  is  how  a  queen  ought  to  be,  both 
in  person  and  mind,  holding  her  court  with  dignity."  He  ad- 
mired her  courage  in  misfortunes,  and  her  affection  for  her 
husband  ;  for  it  is  certain  that  she  loves  him,  as  that  hateful 
woman,  Madame  de  R***,  told  you.  Some  of  our  ladies  who 
wished  to  assume  the  airs  of  princesses,  did  not  kiss  the 
queen's  robe,  some  of  the  duchesses  wished  to  avoid  it  also  ; 
but  the  king  was  displeased  at  this,  and  they  now  pay  her 
homage.  Madame  de  Chaulnes  has  been  informed  of  these 
particulars,  but  has  not  yet  performed  this  duty. 


2*74  LETTERS    TO 


Paris,  Wednesday,  February  16,  1689. 

The  chevalier  is  still  at  Versailles,  but  I  expect  him  this 
evening.  The  marquis  dined  with  me  the  other  day  ;  I  con- 
versed a  good  deal  with  him,  and  I  can  assure  you,  with  much 
satisfaction.  There  is  an  air  of  truth  and  modesty  in  all  he  says, 
which  does  not  in  the  least  resemble  the  style  of  these  thought- 
less youths  who  always  appear  fools  or  liars.  He  related  to  me 
all  the  fatigues  of  his  journey  to  Philipsburg,  which  were  very 
great ;  little  D'Auvergne  had  the  fever  for  four  days,  from 
mere  weariness ;  the  marquis  is  strong,  and  bears  this  first  trial 
with  great  courage ;  he  told  me  his  other  adventures,  gave  me 
an  account  of  all  the  blows  that  were  given  on  each  side  of 
him,  and  the  contusion  he  received ;  and  this,  without  ostenta- 
tion, with  a  cool  composed  air  of  veracity,  which  is  highly 
pleasing.  I  love  to  converse  with  him,  and  lose  no  opportu- 
nity of  doing  it;  he  supped  yesterday  with  M.  Turgot,  and 
some  young  folks,  at  the  rich  little  La  Martilliere's ;  he  re- 
turned at  midnight.  He  is  gone  to  the  horse-market,  being 
wholly  taken  up  with  his  company ;  he  will  write  to  you  to- 
night :  he  loves  you,  and  knows  your  extreme  affection  ;  you 
do  nothing  for  him  to  which  he  is  not  as  sensible  as  you  can 
possibly  wish  :  it  is  not  even  necessary  to  rouse  him  upon  this 

I  dined  yesterday  with  Mademoiselle  de  Goileau ;  it  was  a 
company  of  wits  ;  the  Abbe  de  Polignac,  the  Abbe  de  Rohan, 
his  doctor,  Abbe  David,  and  Corbinelli.  After  dinner  they 
discussed,  very  pleasantly,  the  philosophy  of  your  Father  Des- 
cartes ;  it  was  with  great  difficulty  they  could  comprehend  the 
motion  God  gives  to  a  ball  that  is  pushed  by  another ;  they 
would  have  it  that  the  first  communicated  its  motion,  and  you 
know  how  the  Abbe  Polignac  and  Corbinelli  exclaimed  upon 
the  occasion  :  this  diverted  me,  and  brought  my  dear  little  Car- 
tesian to  my  remembrance,  whom  even  I  could  understand  so 
readily.    From  thence  I  went  to  Madame  de  la  Fayette's  where, 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  275 

by  good  fortune,  I  found  only  M.  de  Pomponne  and  M.  de  Baril- 
lon :  we  spent  two  hours  very  agreeably,  and  the  more  so  as 
we  are  seldom  so  fortunate.  They  say  that  the  English  par- 
liament has  made  the  Prince  of  Orange  king,  because  the 
former  king  has  deserted  his  kingdom,  and  broken  the  treaty 
between  sovereign  and  subjects ;  that  his  flight  is  an  abdica- 
tion ;  that  they  are  determined  to  render  the  throne  elective  ; 
and  that  the  parliament  would  not  allow  the  Princess  of 
Orange  to  be  queen :  these  were  the  reports  of  yesterday, 
The  chevalier  will  bring  us  news  from  Versailles.  Some  say 
with  regard  to  the  King  of  England's  apathy,  that  by  hearing 
him  talk,  it  is  easy  to  guess  why  he  is  here. 


Paris,  Monday,  February  21,  1689. 
It  is  certain  that  we  are  separated  from  each  other  by  a 
grievous  distance:  this  is  enough  to  make  us  shudder;  but 
what  would  it  have  been  if  I  had  added  to  it  the  road  from 
hence  to  the  Rocks  or  Rennes  ?  This,  however,  will  not  take 
place  so  soon.  Madame  de  Chaulnes  wishes  to  see  the  termi- 
nation of  several  affairs,  and  I  am  only  afraid  that  she  will  set 
out  too  late,  considering  my  intention  of  returning  next  winter, 
which  I  must  do  for  several  reasons  ;  the  first  of  which  is  that 
I  am  convinced  M.  de  Grignan  will  be  obliged  to  return  on 
account  of  his  knighthood,  and  you  can  not  take  a  better  op- 
portunity to  escape  from  your  falling,  uninhabitable  castle,  and 
come  and  pay  your  court  a  little  with  the  knight  of  the  order, 
who  will  not  be  a  knight  till  that  time.  ]_I_paid  mine  the 
other  day  at  St.  Cyr  much  more  agreeably  than  I  expected. 
We,  that  is,  Madame  de  Coulanges,  Madame  de  Bagnols,  the  Ab- 
be Tetu,  and  I,  went  on  Saturday.  We  found  our  places  kept ; 
an  officer  told  Madame  de  Coulanges  that  Madame  de  Main- 
tenon  had  ordered  a  place  for  her  next  herself ;  you  see  what 
honor  is  paid  her.     "  You,  madam,"  said  he,  "  may  choose." 

2*78  LETTERS    TO 

I  p7  aced  myself  with  Madame  de  Bagnols  in  the  second  row 
behind  the  duchesses.  Marshal  de  Bellefond  came,  and  placed 
himself  by  choice  at  my  right  hand,  and  before  us  were  the 
Duchesses  d'Auvergne,  De  Coislin,  and  De  Sully.  The  marshal 
and  I  listened  to  the  tragedy  with  an  attention  that  was  re- 
marked, and  bestowed  some  praises  in  a  low  voice  that  were 
very  well  placed.  I  can  not  tell  you  the  extreme  beauty  of 
this  piece  :  it  is  a  performance  not  easy  to  represent,  and  is  in- 
imitable :  it  is  the  union  of  music,  poetry,  singing,  and  charac- 
ter, so  perfect  and  complete  that  there  is  nothing  we  wish  to 
alter.  The  young  ladies  who  represent  kings  and  great  per- 
sonages seem  to  be  made  on  purpose.  It  commands  attention, 
and  the  only  unpleasant  circumstance  attending  it  is,  that  so 
fine  a  production  should  at  last  end.  Every  thing  in  it  is  sim- 
ple and  innocent,  sublime  and  affecting  :  the  sacred  history  is 
so  faithfully  adhered  to  as  to  create  respect ;  all  the  airs  cor- 
responding with  the  words,  which  are  taken  from  the  Psalms 
or  Ecclesiastes,  and  interwoven  with  the  subject,  are  singu- 
larly beautiful;  the  taste  and  attention  of  the  audience  are 
the  criterions  of  the  merit  of  the  piece.  I  was  delighted 
with  it,  and  so  was  the  marshal,  who  left  his  place  to  in- 
form the  king  how  much  he  was  gratified,  that  he  was  seated 
next  to  a  lady  who  was  very  worthy  of  seeing  Esther.  The  king 
approached  our  seat,  and  having  turned  round,  addressed  him- 
self to  me :  "I  am  told,  madam,"  said  he,  "  that  the  piece 
has  given  you  satisfaction."  I  replied,  with  perfect  self-pos- 
session, "  Sire,  I  am  delighted ;  what  I  feel  is  beyond  the 
power  of  words  to  describe."  The  king  continued,  "  Racine 
has  great  talents."  I  replied,  "  Sire,  he  has  indeed  ;  and  so 
have  these  young  people  :  they  enter  into  the  subject  as  if  it 
had  been  their  sole  employment."  "  Ah  !  that  is  very  true," 
he  rejoined.  And  then  he  retired,  leaving  me  the  object  of 
universal  envy.  As  I  was  almost  the  only  new  spectator,  the 
king  took  pleasure  in  observing  my  genuine  admiration,  which 
was  without  noise  or  parade.*     The  prince  and  princess  came 

*  By  mentioning  the  circumstance  to  which  she  believed  she  was 

MADAME     DE     GRIGNAN.  2*7 

and  spoke  a  word  to  me  ;  Madame  de  Maintenon  flashed  upon 
me  like  lightning,  and  then  retired  to  the  king.  I  answered 
every  one,  being  in  one  of  my  happiest  moods.  We  returned 
at  night  with  flambeaux.  I  supped  at  Madame  de  Coulanges', 
to  whom  the  king  had  also  spoken  with  an  air  of  affability 
that  made  him  appear  fascinating.  I  saw  the  chevalier  at 
night.  I  related  to  him  very  naturally  my  little  good  fortune, 
being  unwilling  to  conceal  it  without  a  reason,  as  some  people 
do.  He  was  pleased,  and  here  I  conclude  upon  this  head.  I 
am  sure  he  did  not  afterward  find  in  me  any  ridiculous  van- 
ity, or  the  transports  of  a  vulgar  country  bumpkin.  Ask  him. 
M.  de  Meaux  talked  to  me  a  good  deal  about  you,  and  so  did 
the  prince.  I  pitied  you  for  not  being  present ;  but  how  was 
it  possible  ?  one  can  not  be  every  where.  You  were  at  the 
opera  at  Marseilles.  As  Atys  is  not  only  too  happy,  but 
too  charming,  it  is  impossible  you  could  have  been  tired  with 
it.  Paulina  must  have  been  surprised  at  such  a  spectacle  ;  she 
has  no  right  to  wish  for  a  more  perfect  one.  I  have  so  pleas- 
ing an  idea  of  Marseilles,  that  I  am  persuaded  you  are 
amused  there ;  and  I  will  back  the  dissipations  of  that  place 
against  those  of  Aix. 

But  on  that  very  Saturday,  after  the  representation  of  Es- 
ther, the  king  was  informed  of  the  death  of  the  young  Queen 
of  Spain,*  who  was  carried  off  in  two  days  by  a  violent  vom 

indebted  for  this  little  favor  of  the  king,  she  proves  sufficiently  that 
she  was  not  so  much  elated  with  it  as  has  been  pretended. 

*  Maria-Louisa  of  Orleans,  daughter  of  monsieur,  and  of  Henrietta- 
Anne  of  England,  his  first  wife. 

Madame  de  la  Fayette  says  in  her  Memoirs,  that  the  Queen  of  Spain 
was  poisoned  by  a  cup  of  chocolate.  Dangeau  affirms  that  it  was  by 
an  eel  pie.  Madame,  in  her  Lettres  Originates,  maintains  that  the  poi- 
son was  communicated  by  raw  oysters. 

Voltaire  has  denied  this  poisoning,  as  well  as  several  others.  It  was 
a  system  of  the  historian.  But  he  only  confutes  Dangeau's  account, 
who  had  said  that  three  of  the  queen's  women  had  died  in  consequence 
of  eating  of  the  same  dish.  Against  this  detail  he  brings  forward  re- 
spectable authority. 

Madame  de  la  Fayette,  who,  in  the  life  of  Madame  (Henrietta  of 

2f8  LETTERS    TO 

iting :  this  has  very  much  the  air  of  foul  play.  The  king 
informed  monsieur  of  it  next  day,  which  was  yesterday ;  great 
was  the  grief  upon  the  occasion  ;  madame  wept  bitterly,  and 
the  king  retired  in  a  flood  of  tears. 

It  is  said  there  is  good  news  from  England ;  not  only  the 
Prince  of  Orange  is  not  elected  king  or  protector,  but  he  is 
given  to  understand  that  he  and  his  troops  have  nothing  to 
do  but  return:  this  shortens  our  solicitude.  If  this  news 
should  gain  ground,  our  Brittany  will  be  in  less  agitation,  and 
my  son  will  not  have  the  mortification  of  commanding  the 
nobility  of  the  viscounty  of  Rennes,  and  the  barony  of  Vitre. 
They  have  chosen  him,  against  his  will,  to  be  at  their  head. 
Any  one  else  would  be  greatly  elated  with  this  honor,  but  he 
is  vexed  at  it,  not  liking,  under  any  title  whatever,  to  take  the 
field  in  that  way. 

England),  had  not  dared  to  confirm  the  opinion  of  her  having  died  by 
poison,  joined  with  Yoltaire  in  that  of  the  Queen  of  Spain,  daughter  of 
this  princess. 

The  evidence  of  Madame  (De  Baviere)  would  be  stronger  if  she  were 
not  so  partial,  and  did  not  show  herself  so  ready  to  give  credit  to  every 
crime.  What  she  adds,  that  it  was  two  of  the  queen's  French  waiting 
women  who  poisoned  her,  is  very  improbable. 

She  says,  however,  that  it  was  the  Earl  of  Mansfield  who  procured 
the  poison,  a  circumstance  which  agrees  with  the  common  report  of 
that  period. 

In  fact,  all  the  letters  and  memoirs  of  cotemporary  writers  agree  in 
saying  that  the  Council  of  Spain,  devoted  to  the  emperor  and  the 
Prince  of  Orange,  and  resolved  to  enter  into  the  league  against  France, 
wished  to  remove  a  queen  who  was  too  good  a  Frenchwoman,  and 
who,  governing  her  husband,  was  too  great  an  obstacle  to  the  projects 
of  war  that  had  been  formed. 

It  is  true  that  such  a  report,  at  the  moment  of  the  breaking  out  of 
hostilities,  can  not  pass  for  an  historical  proof;  but  it  must  be  ownod 
that  it  very  nearly  resembles  truth. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  279 


Paris,  Ash-Wednesday,  February  23,  1689. 
My  dear  child,  the  life  you  lead  at  Marseilles  delights  me. 
I  love  that  city,  which  resembles  no  other  in  the  world.  Ah  ! 
how  well  I  understand  Paulina's  admiration  !  How  natural, 
how  just,  how  novel  all  her  surprise  must  be  !  How  pretty  I 
think  her !  how  pleasing  to  me  is  the  mind  which  my  fancy 
gives  her !  It  seems  to  me  that  I  love  her,  and  that  you  do 
not  love  her  enough.  You  want  her  to  be  all  perfection.  Did 
she  engage  for  this  when  she  left  her  convent  ?  You  are  not 
just.  Who  is  there  without  faults  ?  Do  you,  in  conscience, 
expect  her  to  be  free  from  them  ?  Whence  can  this  hope 
arise  ?  It  is  not  in  nature.  You  wish  her  then  to  be  a  pro- 
digious prodigy,  such  as  was  never  before  seen.  If  I  were 
with  you,  I  think  I  should  do  her  some  good  offices,  merely  by 
correcting  your  imagination  a  little,  and  by  asking  you,  if  a 
young  girl,  who  thinks  of  nothing  but  pleasing  you  and  im- 
proving herself,  who  loves  and  fears  you,  and  who  has  a  great 
share  of  understanding,  is  not  in  the  first  rank  of  excellence  ? 
These  are  the  dictates  of  my  heart  in  favor  of  my  dear  Pau- 
lina, whom  I  love,  and  whom  I  entreat  you  immediately  to 
embrace  for  my  sake.  Add  to  this  her  good  conscience,  which 
makes  her  renounce  the  compact,  when  she  sees  the  jugglers 
perform  their  necromancies.  This  life,  though  agreeable,  must 
have  fatigued  you ;  it  is  too  much  for  you,  my  dear  child ;  you 
go  to  bed  late,  and  you  rise  early,  I  have  had  apprehensions 
for  your  health.  The  reason  I  do  not  talk  to  you  of  mine  is, 
that  it  is  as  I  wish  yours  to  be,  and  that  I  have  nothing  to  say 
upon  the  subject. 


Paris.  Monday,  February  28,  1689. 
The  chevalier  went  yesterday  to  Versailles  to  know  his  fate ; 
for,  not  finding  himself  in  the  lists  that  have  appeared,  he  ia 

280  LETTERS     TO 

anxious  to  know  whether  he  is  reserved  for  the  dauphin's 
army,  which  has  not  yet  been  mentioned.  As  he  has  said 
that  he  was  capable  of  serving,  he  has  a  right  to  think  that  he 
has  not  been  forgotten ;  at  all  events  it  will  not  be  his  fault ; 
he  is  one  of  the  best.  It  is  certain  that  the  King  of  England 
set  out  this  morning  for  Ireland,  where  he  is  expected  with 
impatience  ;  he  will  be  better  there  than  here.  He  will  tra- 
verse Brittany  with  the  swiftness  of  lightning  ;  and  go  straight 
to  Brest,  where  he  will  find  Marshal  d'Estrees,  and  ships  and 
frigates  ready  ;  he  takes  with  him  50,000  crowns.  The  king 
has  given  him  sufficient  arms  for  10,000  men.  As  his  Britan- 
nic majesty  took  leave,  he  said  with  a  smile,  "  That  arms  for 
himself  were  the  only  things  that  had  been  forgotten ;"  our 
king  gave  him  his ;  the  heroes  of  romance  never  did  any  thing 
more  gallant  than  this  action.  What  will  not  this  brave  but 
unhappy  king  do,  with  arms  that  have  ever  been  victorious  ? 
Behold  him  then  with  the  casque  and  cuirass  of  Rinoldo  and 
Amadis,  and  all  our  most  celebrated  knights-errant;  I  will 
not  say  of  Hector,  for  he  was  unfortunate.  There  is  not  an 
offer  that  can  be  suggested,  that  our  king  has  not  made  him ; 
generosity  and  magnanimity  have  been  carried  to  their  height. 
M.  d'Avaux*  is  to  go  with  him ;  he  set  out  two  days  ago. 
You  will  ask  why  M.  de  Barillonf  was  not  the  person.  The 
reason  is,  that  M.  d'Avaux,  being  perfectly  acquainted  with 
the  affairs  of  Holland,  will  be  more  useful,  than  he  who  is  ac- 
quainted only  with  those  of  England.J  The  queen  has  shut 
herself  up  at  Poissi  with  her  son ;  she  will  be  near  the  king, 
and  the  fountain-head  of  intelligence.     She  is  overwhelmed 

*  John- Anthony  de  Mesmes,  Count  d'Avaux,  nephew  of  Claudius  de 
Mesmes,  also  Count  d'Avaux,  both  celebrated  for  their  superior  talents 
in  negotiation,  and  for  uncommon  qualities  of  heart  and  mind. 

f  M.  de  Barillon  had  been  embassador  to  England. 

%  The  reason  assigned  here  for  the  preference  that  was  given  to  M. 
d'Avaux,  is  not  the  true  one :  d'Avaux  had  the  merit  of  having  fore- 
seen and  announced  every  event  that  happened,  whereas  De  Barillon 
had  the  misfortune  to  be  wrong  in  every  thing  ;  this  was  the  real  cause 
of  the  preference. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  281 

with  grief,  and  suffers  from  a  nephritic  complaint,  that  makes 
it  feared  she  has  the  stone ;  she  is  really  to  be  pitied.  You 
see,  my  dear  child,  it  is  the  rage  of  talking  that  makes  me 
write  all  this ;  the  chevalier  and  the  gazette  will  give  you  bet- 
ter information  than  I  can  do.  Your  son  has  lived  with  me; 
I  never  leave  him,  and  he  is  satisfied.  He  is  going  to  take 
leave  of  the  little  Mesdemoiselles  Castelnau  ;  but  his  heart  has 
yet  no  attractions.  His  duty  and  his  regiment  take  up  all  his 
time.  He  is  delighted  at  the  thoughts  of  going,  and  of  setting 
the  example  to  others. 


Paris,  Wednesday,  March  2,  1689. 
Shrove-Tuesday  is  not  an  indifferent  day  to  Paulina.  I  can 
not  help  scolding  you,  my  dear  child,  for  not  having  sent  her 
prettily  to  the  good  Langlee's,  to  dance  a  little  with  Madem- 
oiselle d'Oraison ;  what  harm  would  there  have  been  in  allow- 
ing her  this  little  pastime?  I  am  sure  this  dear  child  is  inte- 
resting, that  she  has  a  good  air,  a  good  carriage,  and  even 
eclipses  more  regular  beauties.  I  scold  you  also  for  reading 
all  your  letters  before  you  go  to  bed.  I  know  it  is  scarcely 
possible  to  keep  them  till  the  next  day ;  but  you  must  calcu- 
late upon  not  sleeping,  for  there  will  often  be  many  things  in 
them  that  will  create  disagreeable  thoughts ;  nor  would  it  be 
a  whit  better  if  they  contained  nothing  but  reflections  and 
news.  Before  the  imagination  has  sifted  the  contents,  the 
night  is  gone.  As  you  know  all  this  to  be  true,  settle  the 
matter  for  the  benefit  of  your  health.  I  took  my  marquis  yes- 
terday to  Madame  du  Pui-du-fou's ;  she  grows  very  old.  M. 
de  Mirepoix,  who  had  been  there  once  before  to  see  me,  came 
a  second  time,  and  each  time  his  whole  conversation  turned 
upon  his  condescension  in  marrying  to  please  his  family.  The 
little  puppet  is  dying  of  the  spleen  in  this  dreary  abode.  I  after- 
ward went  to  Madame  de  Lavardin's,  to  whom  I  remembered 

282  LETTERS    TO 

you.  She  embraced  your  son  several  times.  She  loves  you 
dearly,  and  so  does  Madame  de  Mouci ;  but  this  last  is  in  the 
third  heaven ;  she  has  lost  a  sister,  who  was  a  nun,  for  whom 
she  had  very  little  regard :  T  shall  make  your  compliments  to 
her  and  her  learned  brother.*  The  chevalier  arrived  last  night, 
and  is  very  well ;  he  will  be  employed,  but  he  knows  not  yet 
in  what  country ;  I  admire  his  courage.  Your  son  is  a  very 
agreeable  and  a  very  pretty  fellow ;  he  already  manages  all 
his  affairs,  gives  orders,  makes  purchases,  and  keeps  his  ac- 
counts ;  it  is  a  pity  his  father  had  not  done  the  same.  The 
chevalier  will  inform  you  what  our  king  said  to  the  King  of 
England  at  his  taking  leave :  "  Sir,  it  is  with  grief  I  see  you 
depart,  yet  I  never  wish  to  see  you  again ;  but  if  you  return, 
be  assured  you  will  find  me  the  same  as  you  leave  me."  Could 
any  thing  better  have  been  said  ?  He  has  loaded  him  with 
every  thing,  great  and  small ;  two  millions  of  money,  ships, 
frigates,  troops,  officers,  and  M.  d'Avaux,  who  makes,  upon 
the  occasion,  one  of  the  most  brilliant  figures  in  the  world.  I 
will  venture  to  say  that  there  is  no  one  who  would  not  be 
proud  of  the  employment,  who  would  not  think  it  worthy  of 
a  man  thoroughly  acquainted  with  business,  and  capable  of 
giving  advice :  if  M.  de  Barillon  is  not  sensible  of  this  he  is 
very  happy.  I  now  come  to  the  minutiae,  such  as  toilets, 
camp-beds,  services  of  plate,  plain  and  gilt,  arms  for  his  per- 
son, which  are  the  king's ;  arms  for  the  troops  in  Ireland,  and 
those  who  go  with  him,  who  are  very  numerous ;  in  short, 
generosity,  magnificence,  and  magnanimity  were  never  so 
strikingly  displayed  as  upon  this  occasion.  The  king  is  not 
willing  that  the  queen  should  go  to  Poissi ;  she  will  see  very 
little  company,  but  the  king  will  take  care  of  her,  and  she 
will  receive  news  without  intermission.  The  parting  of  the 
King  and  Queen  of  England  rent  the  hearts  of  all  the  specta- 
tors ;  nothing  but  tears,  sighs,  lamentations,  and  swoonings 
were  to  be  seen  or  heard,  which  is  very  easy  to  be  compre- 

*  Achilles  de  Harlay,  then   attorney-general,    and  afterward  first 
president  in  the  parliament  of  Paris,  in  November,  1689. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  283 

bended.     Such  is  his  destiny.     He  has  a  good  cause ;  he  is 

the  protector  of  the  true  religion,  and  his  courage  will  allow 
him  no  other  alternative  than  conquest  or  death. 


Paris,  Wednesday,  March  23,  1689. 

I  shall  not  retract  the  praises  I  have  bestowed  on  the  tragedy 
of  Esther ;  I  shall  be  delighted  with  the  harmony  and  novelty 
of  this  spectacle  as  long  as  I  live ;  I  was  in  raptures  with  it ;  I 
found  in  it  a  thousand  things  so  just,  so  well  introduced,  and 
so  important  to  a  king,  that  I  entered  with  uncommon  spirit 
into  the  pleasure  arising  from  the  utterance,  in  fiction  and 
song,  of  the  most  solid  truths ;  I  was  affected  with  these 
various  beauties,  and  am  very  far  from  changing  my  opinion. 
But  I  told  you  that  the  impression  of  this  piece  has  produced 
its  usual  effect,  and  has  brought  forth  a  civil  demur  against  ex- 
cessive applause.  I,  who  have  read  it  again  with  pleasure, 
suppose  that  the  critics  are  routed,  as  M.  d'Aiguebonne  will  be 
with  his  demur,  if  the  chevalier  has  time  to  press  the  point. 
The  victory  of  the  grand  council  has  been  brilliant  and  grati- 
fying, and  I  doubt  not  that  it  will  give  you  ample  satisfaction ; 
I  am  impatient  to  receive  your  letter  upon  this  subject.  M. 
de  Lamoignon  told  me  again  to-day,  that  this  advantage, 
gained  sword  in  hand,  was  greater  than  we  supposed.  I  told 
him  he  was  mistaken,  as  we  had  felt  the  pleasure  in  its  fullest 
extent.  He  is  very  much  engaged  in  the  great  cause  between 
mademoiselle,  the  prince,  and  the  whole  house  of  Lorraine, 
who  have  recourse  to  law  in  the  same  way  we  have.  M.  de 
Lamoignon  is  to  plead  on  Thursday,  and  the  affair  will  be  de- 
termined upon  hearing. 

The  King  of  England  set  sail  on  the  17  th,  and  arrived  in 
Ireland  on  the  19th.  Little  Mailly,  who  accompanied  him  to 
Brest,  is  returned.  Adieu,  my  beloved  child ;  I  dread  an  in- 
crease of  distance  from  you;    it  makes  me  ill.     I  swallow 

284  LETTERS    TO 

this  journey  like  a  dose  of  medicine  ;  but  the  worst  is,  that  I 
have  no  time  to  lose ;  in  truth,  my  reflections  are  often  of  the 
most  melancholy  cast ;  for,  though  I  submit  to  that  Provi- 
dence which  separates  us,  what  would  become  of  me  if  I  had 
not  the  hope  of  seeing  you  again  ? 


The  Rocks,  Wednesday,  June  1,  1689. 

Paulina  is  too  fortunate  in  being  your  secretary ;  she  learns, 
as  I  told  you,  to  think,  and  express  her  thoughts,  by  seeing 
how  you  express  yours.  She  is  learning  the  French  language, 
which  most  women  are  ignorant  of,  but  you  take  the  trouble 
of  explaining  words  to  her,  which  she  would  not  understand  ; 
and  by  instructing  her  in  so  many  subjects,  you  relieve  your 
own  head  and  mine.  The  tediousness  of  dictating  is  not 
equal  to  the  fatigue  of  writing ;  and  my  mind  is  never  at  rest, 
but  when  I  know  yours  is  so.  Persevere,  then,  in  instructing 
your  daughter  so  properly,  and  in  affording  so  great  a  relief 
to  yourself  and  to  me. 

When  you  are  assured  of  my  being  in  perfect  health,  you 
do  every  thing  that  can  be  done,  which  is  to  dread  its  inter- 
ruption. This  too  sometimes  engages  my  thoughts,  and  not 
finding  any  of  those  little  inconveniences  with  which  you  are  ac- 
quainted, I  say  with  astonishment,  I  must,  however,  expect 
that  this  happy  state  will  change ;  and  I  conclude,  that  I 
ought,  as  upon  all  other  occasions,  to  submit  to  the  will  of 
God,  and  believe,  that  in  inflicting  ills  upon  me,  he  will  give 
me  patience.     I  will  therefore  enjoy  my  present  lot. 


The  Rocks,  Sunday,  July  3,  1689. 
It  is  nine  months  this  third  of  July,  reckoning  from  day  to 
day,  and  from  Sunday  to  Sunday,  since  I  left  you  with  a  del- 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  285 

uge  of  tears,  and  more  than  you  perceived,  at  Charenton. 
Such  partings  are  grievous  and  bitter,  particularly  when  we 
have  not  much  time  to  lose.  But  to  turn  them  to  our  advan- 
tage, we  ought  to  make  them  a  period  of  abstinence  and  pen- 
ance, wbich  would  be  the  sure  means  of  making  them  salu- 
tary ;  it  is  certain  that  this  holy  economy  is  a  favor  from 
heaven,  like  all  others,  which  we  do  not  deserve  to  obtain. 
Nine  months,  then,  have  passed,  in  which  I  have  neither  seen 
nor  embraced  you,  nor  even  heard  the  sound  of  your  voice.  I 
have  not  been  ill,  I  have  had  no  particular  uneasiness ;  I  have 
seen  fine  houses,  fine  countries,  and  fine  cities.  Nevertheless, 
I  must  acknowledge  that  it  appears  to  me  nine  years  since  I 
left  you.  I  have  had  no  letter  from  you  this  post ;  the  delay 
is  always  a  disappointment  to  me.  Madame  de  Lavardin  tells 
me  that  she  said  to  Madame  de  Buri,  with  regard  to  Chabril- 
land's  cause,  which  the  last  expects  to  gain,  "  You  have  al- 
ways great  expectations ;  but  one  of  your  friends,  who  under- 
stands these  things,  is  not  of  the  same  opinion."  "  Ah  !"  said 
she,  "  you  mean  M.  de  Fieubet,  but  I  do  not  believe  him." 
And  Madame  de  Lavardin  afterward  told  me  that  M.  d' Aries 
is  to  have  the  honor  of  the  civil  petition.  It  is  he,  then,  who 
is  to  be  the  solicitor ;  but  I  would  not,  I  think,  solicit  with 
beat  of  drum  in  open  court,  where  people  are  convinced  you 
have  already  but  too  much  credit.  We  lead  here,  my  dear 
countess,  the  life  I  described  to  you.  It  is  very  fine  weather ; 
we  are  so  perfumed  at  night  with  jasmines  and  orange- 
flowers,  that  in  this  respect  I  think  I  am  in  Provence.  M. 
and  Madame  de  Chaulnes  have  written  to  me  from  St.  Malo, 
and  constantly  mention  you.  Write  to  La  Troche ;  she  can 
not  be  consoled  for  your  forgetfulness  of  her.  I  know  not 
how  it  has  happened,  for  you  are  punctual.  It  is  not  possible 
that  I  have  not  informed  you  of  the  death  of  her  husband.  I 
expect  your  answer. 

286  LETTERS    TO 


The  Rocks,  Wednesday,  October  5,  1689. 
It  had  never  entered  my  brain  to  accuse  certain  iron  wires 
in  the  head-dress  of  being  the  cause  of  long  faces ;  this  hint 
would  be  very  useful  to  certain  persons  of  our  acquaintance. 
I  had  heard  they  were  very  friendly  ;  but  no,  quite  the  contrary. 
These  two  little  wires  press  against  the  temples,  prevent  the 
circulation  of  blood,  and  cause  abscesses.  Some  die  in  con- 
sequence. They  may  consider  themselves  fortunate  whose 
faces  are  only  lengthened  an  ell,  and  who  become  as  pale  as 
death ;  but  young  people,  who  are  more  hardy,  may  recover 
in  time.  I  am  very  much  inclined  to  place  this  story  in  the 
class  with  some  others,  formerly  related  to  me  by  the  good 
Princess  de  Tarente ;  however,  it  is  not  amiss  to  know  every- 

I  do  not  in  the  least  doubt  that  M.  de  la  Garde,  who  never 
refused  a  remedy,  will  avail  himself  of  that  of  the  lady  you 
mention.  You  will  see  him  with  his  head  upon  the  ground, 
and  his  heels  in  the  air,  turning  an  affair*  like  her ;  I  really 
believe  that  if  we  were  to  pursue  this  regimen  for  any  length 
of  time,  we  should  no  longer  have  sore  eyes.  I  have  nothing 
to  give  you  in  return  for  your  account  of  this  visit. 

We  have  had  a  very  worthy,  sensible,  agreeable,  unaffected, 
learned,  and  every  way  desirable,  visitor  with  us ;  a  man  of 
great  endowments,  and  capable  of  entering  upon  every  subject 
of  conversation ;  he  has  been  here  for  a  week.  One  of  his 
brothers-in-law  is  arrived,  the  Abbe  de  Marbeuf,  who  spoils 
nothing ;  and  a  brother-in-law  of  the  Count  de  Lis,  who  would 
spoil  every  thing  if  he  opened  his  lips ;  this  is  a  secret  misan- 
thropist, for  he  keeps  his  chagrin  to  himself;  he  is  very  well 
made,  and  sings  so  much  like  Beaumaviel,  that  he  might  be 
mistaken  for  him.     When  our  worthy  friend  departed,  every 

*  It  has  already  been  observed  that  this  was  a  favorite  expression 
of  M.  de  la  Garde. 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  287 

thing  was  comparatively  flat  and  insipid;  we  renewed  the 
just  observations  we  made  in  this  country  with  you,  on  pleas- 
ant and  disagreeable  company  ;  and  fixed  that  the  disagreea- 
ble was  the  most  desirable ;  their  absence  is  a  relief ;  whereas 
pleasant  society  leaves  us  dull  and  dejected  ;  we  can  not  easily 
pursue  the  old  track ;  in  short,  it  is  a  great  misfortune  to  as- 
sociate with  sensible  people,  but  it  is  a  misfortune  that  does  not 
often  happen  to  us 


The  Rocks,  Sunday,  November  13,  1689. 

Your* letter  is  not  yet  arrived ;  this  is  always  a  grief  to  me  ; 
though  I  have  in  some  degree  got  the  better  of  the  apprehen- 
sions I  formerly  suffered  from  the  delay  ;  it  is  the  whim  of  the 
post,  and  we  must  endure  it ;  but  as  I  am  constantly  with  you 
at  Grignan,  I  lose  the  thread  of  the  conversation ;  this  it  is 
that  vexes  me.  I  know  not  whether  you  go  to  the  assembly 
with  M.  de  Grignan,  or  remain  at  your  chateau.  I  am  very 
uneasy  about  the  chevalier's  health,  and  the  effects  of  the  bark, 
repeated  in  its  usual  dose ;  its  heat  operating  upon  that  of  the 
chevalier's  blood,  brings  to  my  mind  an  old  saying,  When  the 
brave  meets  the  brave,  they  remain  brave.  We  hope,  therefore, 
that  this  brave  bark  will  make  the  blood  remain  brave ;  God 
grant  it  may  ;  it  is  very  difficult  to  subdue. 

I  have  received  a  long  letter  from  my  new  friend,  the  man- 
wolf  Guebriac ;  I  would  have  sent  it  to  you,  as  his  style,  which 
is  very  easy,  would  be  agreeable  enough,  if  he  did  not  praise 
me  so  extravagantly  ;  in  fact,  my  modesty  will  not  suffer  it ; 
he  is  so  astonished  to  find  a  woman  with  a  few  good  qualities 
and  good  principles,  who  in  her  youth  had  some  charms,  that 
he  seems  to  have  passed  his  life  in  a  whirlwind  of  passions, 
among  a  banditti  equally  devoid  of  faith  and  law,  where  love 
reigned  alone,  despoiled  of  every  kind  of  virtue  ;  this  has  given 
rise  to  some  very  pleasant  things. 

288  LETTERS    TO 

We  are  reading  the  History  of  the  Church  by  M.  de  Go- 
deau  ;*  it  is  really  a  very  fine  work ;  in  what  a  respectable 
light  does  it  place  religion  !  we  are  ready  to  suffer  martyrdom 
with  Abbadie.  Every  thing  has  its  turn ;  Corisca  is  very 
pretty  and  very  roguish  ;  altri  tempi,  altre  cure.  Love  me  al- 
ways, -my  dear  child,  but  never  weigh  other  love  in  the  same 
scale  with  yours ;  your  heart  is  of  the  first  order,  and  no  one 
resembles  it. 


The  Rocks,  Wednesday,  January  11,  1690. 

Good  heavens  !  what  a  new  year's  gift !  what  wishes  !  what 
could  be  more  calculated  to  charm  me  ?  I  will  tell  you  a 
feeling  I  have  just  discovered  in  myself;  if  it  could  repay 
yours  I  should  be  satisfied,  for  I  have  no  other  coin :  instead 
of  the  kind  fears  which  the  frequent  deaths  that  surround  you 
occasion,  and  which  make  you  think  of  others,  I  offer  you  the 
real  consolation,  and  even  the  joy,  which  frequently  arise  to  me 
from  my  being  older  than  you.  The  thought  that  the  oldest 
goes  first,  and  that  I  shall  probably  and  naturally  keep  my 
rank  with  my  dear  child,  constitutes  the  true  charms  of  this 
feeling.  What  have  I  not  'suffered,  when  your  ill  state  of 
wealth  made  me  dread  a  reverse  of  the  order  of  nature  ? 
These  were  trying  times ;  let  us  talk  no  more  of  them  ;  you 
.ire  well,  God  be  praised ;  and  every  thing  has  resumed  its 
natural  course.  God  preserve  you  ;  I  believe  you  hear  my 
tone  of  voice,  and  know  me. 

I  now  come  to  the  chevalier  ;  I  have  no  hesitation  in  believ- 
ing that  the  climate  of  Provence  would  agree  with  him  better 
in  winter  than  that  of  Paris.  All  those  who,  like  swallows, 
fly  to  your  sunshine,  afford  sufficient  testimony  of  this.  But, 
while  I  rejoice  at  his  being  sensible  of  the  difference,  I  am 
grieved  at  his  having  lost  a  thousand  crowns  of  his  income  ; 

*  Antony  Godeau,  Bishop  of  G-rasse  and  Yence. 

MADAME    DE     GRI6NAN.  289 

and  by  what  means  ?  was  his  regiment  worth  so  m  uch  to 
him  ?  He  will  sell  it  then  to  the  marquis  ;*  but  will  not  the 
money  arising  from  it,  in  payment  of  debts,  diminish  the  in- 
terest of  loans  ?  Settle  this  account  for  me,  which  makes  me 
uneasy  ;  I  can  not  figure  to  myself  the  Chevalier  de  Grignan 
at  Paris  without  his  genteel  and  neat  little  equipage ;  I  can 
not  see  him  walking  on  foot,  nor  inquiring  for  places  to  Ver- 
sailles ;  such  an  idea  can  not  enter  my  head ;  this  article  is 
interlocutory  ;  ah,  how  happily  this  term  of  chicanery  finds 
admittance  here  !  Neither  do  I  comprehend  your  sixty-four 
people,  besides  guards ;  you  deceive  me,  this  can  not  be  your 
meaning,  you  must  give  me  a  mathematical  demonstration. 

With  regard  to  Paulina,  you  can  not  surely  hesitate  respect- 
ing the  choice  you  have  to  take,  between  good  and  evil.  The 
superiority  of  your  understanding  will  easily  point  out  to  you 
the  true  road ;  every  thing  leads  you  to  your  duty ;  honor 
conscience,  and  the  power  you  possess.  When  I  consider  how 
much  she  has  corrected  herself  in  a  short  time  to  please  you, 
and  how  much  she  is  improved,  you  will  be  answerable  for  all 
the  good  she  neglects.  As  to  reading,  you  are  too  much  engaged 
in  conversation  and  discussion  to  attend  to  it :  we  are  most  quiet 
here,  and  therefore,  have  leisure  for  it.  I  even  read  works  I 
had  slightly  run  over  at  Paris,  and  which  appear  quite  new  to 
me.  We  also  read,  by  way  of  interlude  to  our  grand  lec- 
tures, scraps  that  we  meet  with,  such  as  the  fine  funeral  ora- 
tions of  M.  de  Bossuet,f  M.  Flechier,J  M.  Mascaron,§  Father 
Bourdaloue :  we  pay  a  fresh  tribute  of  tears  to  M.  de  Tu- 
renne,  Madame  de  Montausier,  the  Prince,  the  late  Madame, 
and  the  Queen  of  England ;  we  admire  the  portrait  of  Crom- 
well :  these  are  master-pieces  of  eloquence,  which  charm  the 
mind.     You  must  not  say,  "  These  are  old  ;"  they  are  not  old, 

*  The  Chevalier  de  Grignan,  attaining  the  rank  of  field  marshal  in 
1688,  had  leave  to  keep  his  regiment,  that  he  might  afterward  resign 
in  favor  of  the  Marquis  de  Grignan  his  nephew. 

f  The  Bishop  of  Meaux.  J  The  Bishop  of  Nismes. 

§  The  Bishop  of  Agen. 


290  LETTERS    TO 

they  are  divine.     Paulina  should  be  made  acquainted  and  de- 
lighted with  them ;  but  this  is  calculated  solely  for  the  Rocks. 
I  know  not  what  book  to  recommend  to  Paulina :  Davila  is 
fine  in  Italian,  we  have  read  it ;  Guicciardini  is  very  long ;  I 
should  like  the  anecdotes  of  Medicis,  which  are  an  abridg- 
ment, but  they  are  not  in  Italian.     I  will  not  name  Benti- 
voglio  again  ;*  let  her  confine  herself  to  poetry,  I  do  not  like 
Italian  prose ;  to  Tasso,  Aminto,  II  Pastor  Fido,  etc.     I  dare 
not  add  Ariosto,  there  are  some  bad  passages  in  it ;  let  her  also 
read  history ;  let  her  cherish  this  taste,  which  may  long  pre- 
serve her  from  idleness ;  it  is  to  be  feared  that  if  this  part  of 
reading  were  suppressed  there  would  be  scarcely  any  thing  to 
read  ;  let  her  begin  with  the  life  of  Theodosius  the  Great,  and 
let  her  tell  me  how  she  likes  it.     This,  my  child,  is  a  letter  of 
trifles ;  we  set  apart  some  days  for  chatting,  without  offense 
to  serious  matters,  in  which  we  always  take  true  interest. 


The  Rocks,  Sunday,  January  15,  1690. 

You  are  right,  I  can  not  reconcile  myself  to  the  date  of  this 
year ;  it  has,  however,  been  already  begun  for  some  time  ;  and 
you  will  find,  that,  let  us  pass  it  as  we  may,  we  shall  soon  find 
the  bottom  of  the  bag  that  contained  the  thousand  livres.f 

You  really  spoil  me,  and  so  do  my  Paris  friends ;  the  sun 
has  scarcely  gained  upon  us  a  barley-corn  before  you  tell  me 
when  you  shall  expect  me  at  Grignan;  and  my  friends  desire 
me  to  fix  from  that  hour  the  time  of  my  departure,  in  order 
to  hasten  their  joy.  Such  pressing  civilities  flatter  me  highly, 
and  particularly  yours,  which  admit  of  no  comparison.  I  will, 
then,  sincerely  confide  to  my  dear  countess,  that  between  this 

*  Gui  Bentivoglio,  cardinal,  and  author  of  the  Civil  Wars  in  Flan- 
ders, and  several  other  works. 

+  Madame  de  Sevigne'  compared  the  twelve  months  of  the  year  to  a 
bag  with  a  thousand  livres,  which  is  exhausted  almost  as  soon  as  it  is 

MADAME     DE     GRIGNAN.  291 

and  September,  I  can  not  entertain  a  thought  of  leaving  this 
country ;  this  is  the  time  when  I  send  my  little  means  to 
Paris,  of  which  only  a  very  small  part  is  gone.  This  is  the 
time  when  the  Abbe  Charier  is  treating  for  my  fines  and  sales, 
which  amount  to  ten  thousand  livres ;  but  more  of  this  here- 
after ;  let  us  content  ourselves  with  driving  away  every  hope 
of  taking  the  least  step  before  the  time  I  have  mentioned.  I 
will  not,  however,  say  that  you  are  my  goal,  my  perspective  ; 
you  know  it  well,  and  that  you  are  so  firmly  rooted  in  my 
heart  that  I  fear  M.  Nicole  would  find  much  difficulty  to  prune 
you  away ;  this,  in  short,  is  my  disposition.  You  use  the 
most  affectionate  expression  possible  to  me,  in  hoping  you  may 
never  see  the  end  of  the  happy  years  you  wish  me.  We  are 
very  far  from  agreeing  in  our  wishes ;  for  I  have  informed 
you  of  a  very  just  and  very  proper  truth,  which  God  will 
doubtless  grant,  and  which  is  to  follow  the  natural  order  of 
providence ;  this  is  my  comfort  through  the  thorny  road  of 
old  age :  mine  is  a  rational  feeling,  and  yours  too  extraordinary 
and  too  kind  a  one. 

As  to  Paulina,  that  devourer  of  books,  I  had  rather  she 
should  swallow  bad  ones,  than  have  no  love  for  reading ;  ro- 
mances, plays,  Voiture,  Sarrasin,  have  all  been  exhausted  ;  has 
she  dipped  into  Lucian  ?  is  she  capable  of  enjoying  Les  Petites 
Lettres  ?  History  should  come  next,  and  if  she  does  not  find 
her  account  in  this,  I  pity  her.  If  she  does  not  like  the  finest 
works  of  devotion,  so  much  the  worse  for  her,  for  we  know 
but  too  well  that  even  without  devotion  ourselves,  they  are 
charming.  With  respect  to  ethics,  as  she  would  not  make  so 
good  a  use  of  it  as  you,  I  would  not  have  her  meddle  either 
with  Montaigne,  Charron,  or  any  others  of  his  stamp ;  she  is 
too  young.  The  true  morality  of  this  age,  is  what  we  learn 
in  conversation,  fables,  history,  and  example.  If  you  were  to 
bestow  a  little  of  your  time  upon  her  in  conversation,  she 
would  reap  greater  benefit  from  this  than  from  all  the  rest.  I 
know  not  whether  what  I  say  is  worth  your  reading,  I  am 
very  far  from  being  wedded  to  my  opinion. 

292  LETTERS     TO 


The  Rocks,  Sunday,  January  22,  1690. 
Good  heavens,  what  a  situation  you  are  in  !  how  pressing  a 
one  !  and  how  much  and  sensibly  I  am  grieved  at  it !  But,  my 
child,  how  weak  and  futile  are  wishes  upon  such  occasions  ! 
and  how  needless  it  is  to  tell  you  that  if  I  had  now,  as  I  have 
had,  some  portable  sum  which  depended  on  me,  it  should  soon 
be  yours  !  I  am  overwhelmed  with  a  host  of  little  creditors 
who  dun  and  threaten  me,  and  I  do  not  know  whether  I  shall 
be  able  to  satisfy  them,  as  I  had  hoped  to  do ;  for  I  am  quite 
suffocated  by  the  obligation  I  am  under  of  paying  immediately 
5000  livres  by  way  of  fine,  and  the  price  of  the  estate  of 
Madame  d'Acigne,  which  I  have  purchased,  to  avoid  paying 
10,000  if  I  had  waited  two  years  longer.  Such,  then,  is  my 
situation  ;  but  this  is  only  to  acquaint  you  with  the  utter  im- 
possibility of  my  assisting  you.  Your  brother  appears  to  me 
to  feel  for  you,  and  I  am  persuaded  he  would  perform  his  duty 
better  than  your  rich  prelates,  if  the  times  were  as  they  have 
been,  that  is,  if  it  were  possible  to  borrow.  He  will  talk  to  you 
himself,  and  tell  you  his  opinion  of  your  affairs.  I  have  also 
set  forth  to  him  the  embarrassments  of  your  little  colonel ;  he 
mentioned  the  subject  to  me  the  first,  some  time  ago,  pitying 
and  regretting,  like  us,  that  the  chevalier  had  not  the  manage- 
ment of  him  for  the  first  year  or  two ;  nothing  could  have 
been  of  so  much  service  to  him  as  such  a  master ;  in  short, 
my  dearest  child,  no  one  but  God  can  confine  so  great  a  num- 
ber of  disagreeable  things  within  the  bounds  of  resignation,  in 
which  you  appear  to  me.  To  return  to  my  son ;  he  had  some 
anxiety  on  seeing  a  stripling  of  seventeen  or  eighteen  at  the 
head  of  such  a  troop.  He  remembers  enough  of  past  times  to 
know  how  difficult  it  is  at  that  age  to  command  old  officers  ; 
and  this  difficulty  would  have  been  removed,  if  he  could  have 
had  his  uncle  to  establish  him ;  this  is  a  very  disagreeable  and 
delicate  time  for  him.  Can  not  you  assist  him  with  some  pru- 
dent counselor,  to  advise  him  a  little  %     For,  in  short,  he  is 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  293 

alone,  and  can  not  at  his  age  know  a  profession  that  requires 
more  experience  than  any  other.  I  have  conjured  you  to  send 
for  the  marquis  to  Grignan ;  what  will  he  do  during  the  car- 
nival at  Paris  and  Versailles  ?  do  you  think  he  will  acquit 
himself  well  of  the  duty  and  compliments  he  has  to  go  through  ? 
I  perhaps  do  him  wrong ;  but  he  is  very  young,  and  little  ac- 
customed to  this  business ;  in  short,  I  think  he  has  more  to 
perform  than  he  is  equal  to.  I  resign  the  pen  to  my  son ;  I 
will  resume  it  again  presently. 


The  Rocks,  Sunday,  February  26,  1690. 

I  could  not  have  believed  that  I  should  have  wept  so  much 
for  La  Chau ;  but  it  is  impossible  to  read  your  account  of  his 
poor  wife's  unfeigned  and  violent  affliction  without  being  af- 
fected to  tears.  This  is,  indeed,  a  peculiar  misfortune,  and  a 
fate  which  nothing  could  prevent.  The  man  is  in  haste,  he 
wants  to  get  to  his  journey's  end ;  he  is  advised,  for  very 
weighty  reasons,  not  to  expose  himself,  or,  at  Jeast,  not  to  go 
into  the  little  boat;  but  he  will  listen  to  no  one,  he  must 
go,  he  must  be  punctual  to  his  appointment ;  Death  is  waiting 
for  him  at  a  particular  spot  upon  the  Rhone ;  he  must  meet 
him  there,  and  perish.  Good  heavens,  my  dear  child,  how  all 
this  is  arranged !  Every  one  sees  his  own  fate  in  this  accident, 
and  his  wife's  grief  becomes  ours  ;  as  we  are  exposed  to  similar 
perils,  it  is  our  own  interest  that  makes  us  weep,  when  we 
suppose  we  are  lamenting  the  misfortunes  of  others.  Christian- 
ity dictates  to  us  that  we  should  think  first  of  this  poor  man's 
salvation ;  but  his  wife  afterward  claims  our  pity  for  the  loss 
of  4000  livres ;  if  the  dead  body  should  not  float,  or  the  vio- 
lence of  the  Rhone  should  throw  it  beyond  Aries  upon  some 
unfrequented  shore,  Providence  will  dispose  of  this  gold,  sewed 
up  in  his  wet  coat,  as  of  the  rest. 

I  highly  approve  the  resolution  of  not  sending  for  the  mar- 

294  LETTERS    TO 

quis,  this  is  the  surest  way ;  the  journey  would  be  both  ex- 
pensive and  fatiguing,  and  productive  of  no  good  but  the  mere 
gratification  of  your  affection;  bear  this  like  many  other 
things,  and  rather  wait  till  he  is  a  brigadier  or  major-general, 
than  make  him  lose  his  time  now.  Beaulieu  informs  me,  that 
he  is  quite  overwhelmed  with  business,  and  that  he  attends  to 
nothing  else.  Is  it  possible,  that  he  should  have  visited  Mad- 
ame de  la  Fayette  before  Madame  de  Vins  ?  I  blame  him ; 
I  am  as  jealous  upon  this  occasion  as  you  are,  for  I  frequently 
put  myself  in  your  place ;  every  reason  should  have  induced 
him  to  have  flown  to  Madame  de  Vins ;  she  wrote  to  me  the 
other  day  that  she  longed  to  see  him,  and  to  observe  the  dif- 
ference and  transition  from  infancy  to  youth.  He  has  waited 
upon  Madame  de  Lavardin,  and  will  have  time  to  pay  her 
another  visit. 

M.  de  Grignan  has  resolved  upon  a  very  precipitate  journey  ; 
it  is  difficult  to  avoid  such  courses,  when  we  command  singly 
in  a  province,  whether  for  the  service  of  the  king,  or  the 
honor  of  the  post.  You  never  examine  thoroughly  into  this 
business,  except  for  M.  de  Grignan  ;  this  is  natural  enough  ; 
but  the  example  should  extend  further.  No  enemies,  my  dear 
child;  let  this  be  your  maxim,  it  is  equally  Christian  and 
politic  :  I  not  only  say  no  enemies,  but  also  many  friends  ; 
you  have  felt  the  good  effects  of  these  in  your  law-suit ;  you 
have  a  son  ;  you  may  stand  in  need  of  those  who  you  may 
now  think  can  never  be  of  service  to  you.  We  are  deceived  ; 
see  how  Madame  de  la  Fayette  abounds  with  friends  on  every 
side,  and  of  all  ranks.  She  has  a  hundred  arms,  and  they  all 
serve  her ;  her  children  feel  it,  and  thank  her  daily  for  her 
courteous  disposition  ;  an  obligation  which  she  owes  to  M.  de 
la  Rochefoucault,  and  of  which  her  family  reaps  the  benefit. 
I  am  certain  that  you  have  been  of  this  opinion  for  many 

You  explain  Madame  Reinie's  conduct  very  well ;  it  is  droll 
to  think  of  her  leaving  Paris,  her  husband,  all  her  business, 
to  fly  for  three  or  four  months  all  over  Provence  asking  for 

MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN.  295 

money,  without  getting  any,  fatiguing  herself,  returning  after 
being  at  great  expense,  and  getting  the  rheumatism  into  the 
bargain!  for  recollect  that  she  has  pains  all  over  her;  and 
such  as  at  length  have  defeated  you. 

I  am  delighted  at  Paulina's  partiality  to  M.  Nicole  ;  it  is  a 
proof  that  she  reads  him  with  attention;  this  taste  gives  me 
the  highest  opinion  of  her  understanding  ;  I  also  like  her  anger 
that  the  bishops  do  not  fight  for  promotion.  But,  my  dear, 
on  your  honor  do  you  believe  it  right  to  give  us  only  the  first 
volume  of  the  romance  of  the  Princess,  the  Infanta,  or  the 
First  Minister,  so  charming  as  we  thought  it  I*  I  will  not 
allow  you  to  stop  here ;  I  insist  upon  knowing  what  is  be- 
come of  the  princess's  good  and  just  resolution  ?  I  am  afraid 
it  has  vanished,  by  the  necessity  of  the  times,  the  want  of  a 
minister,  the  sudden  journey,  the  impossibility  of  collecting 
the  leaves  of  the  Sibyl,  idly  and  incautiously  scattered  to  the 
winds  for  ten  years.  In  short,  I  fear  your  good  intentions 
will  come  to  nothing,  as  I  have  so  often  found  during  the  last 
twenty  years:  this  story,  however,  requires  a  continuation, 
but  it  should  not  be  too  serious  with  regard  to  your  affairs. 
I  wish  also  to  be  informed  of  the  success  of  M.  Prat's  journey 
to  the  enraged  lover  of  the  Princess  Truelle.  I  should  like 
to  know  who  were  the  confidants  of  the  first  minister  and  the 
favorite  ;  and  who  received  the  couriers.  Tell  me  if  you  are 
still  satisfied  with  Flame  ;\  he  is  a  very  considerable  person- 
age in  your  household.  I  want  to  know  some  particulars  re- 
specting the  count's  journey,  and  if  the  treasurer  will  do  as 
he  wishes  :  here  are  a  number  of  questions,  my  dearest  child, 
for  which  I  apologize.  It  is  kind  of  you  to  love  my  letters  ; 
when  you  receive  three  at  a  time  you  say  you  are  rich  ;  but 
what  fatigues  do  they  not  occasion  you !  They  are  so  very 
long  that  you  should  not  answer  them  minutely.  Adieu,  my 
love  ;  how  does  Lent  agree  with  you  ?  for  my  part  I  like  it 

*  This  was  an  account,  in  the  form  of  a  romance,  of  what  passed  in 
M.  de  Grignan's  family. 

f  M.  de  Grignan's  house-steward. 

296  LETTERS    TO    MADAME    DE     GRIGNAN. 

extremely.  I  took  a  mess  of  milk-coffee  this  morning :  I  am 
not  yet  surfeited  with  it,  nor  with  sermons,  for  we  read  none 
but  those  of  M.  le  Tourneux  and  St.  John  Chrysostom.  It  is 
delightful  weather,  the  winter  is  past,  and  we  have  a  prospect 
of  spring  that  is  superior  to  spring  itself. 

N.B.    This  letter  is  the  last  from  the  mother  to  the  daughter. 


The  following  Letters,  relating  to  the  trial  of  M.  Fouquet, 
were  addressed  to  the  Marquis  de  Pomponne,  who  was  after- 
ward Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs. 

The  trial  of  Fouquet  was  not  the  least  curious  and  least 
interesting  event  of  the  reign  of  Louis  XIV.  The  plan  of 
ruining  him  was  laid  with  such  odious  art,  and  the  conduct 
of  his  enemies,  many  of  whom  were  his  judges,  was  so  invet- 
erate, that  it  would  have  been  impossible  not  to  have  been 
interested  for  him,  even  had  he  been  more  criminal  than  he 
really  was.  Accused  and  tried  for  financial  peculations,  he 
was  sentenced  to  banishment  for  a  crime  against  the  state. 
His  crime  was  a  vague  plan  of  resistance  and  flight  into  a 
foreign  country,  which  he  had  thrown  upon  paper  five  years 
before,  when  the  factions  of  the  Fronde  divided  France,  and 
when  he  thought  he  had  reason  to  complain  of  the  ingratitude 
of  Cardinal  Mazarin.  This  plan,  which  he  had  wholly  for- 
gotten, was  found  among  the  papers  that  were  seized  at  his 

It  is  well  known  that  Louis  XIV.  was  led  to  believe  that 
Fouquet  was  a  dangerous  man.  A  guard  of  fifty  musketeers 
were  appointed  to  conduct  him  to  the  citadel  of  Pignerol,  the 
king  having  changed  the  sentence  of  banishment  into  perpetual 
imprisonment.  It  was  still  apprehended  that  he  had  formi- 
dable friends.  Among  these  were  Pelisson  and  Lafontaine ; 
one  defended  him  eloquently,  and  the  other  bewailed  his  mis- 
fortunes in  a  very  beautiful  and  pathetic  elegy,  in  which  h6 

went  so  far  as  to  ask  the  king  to  pardon  him. 


298  LETTERS    TO 


To-day,  Monday,  November  the  17  th,  1664,  M.  Fouquet 
was  brought  a  second  time  before  the  chancellor.  He  seated 
himself  without  ceremony  upon  the  sellette,*  as  he  had  done 
the  first  time.  The  chancellor  began  by  bidding  him  hold  up 
his  hand.  He  replied,  that  he  had  already  assigned  the  rea- 
sons which  prevented  him  from  taking  the  oath.  The  chancellor 
then  made  a  long  speech  to  prove  the  legal  authority  of  the 
court,  that  it  had  been  established  by  the  king,  and  that  the 
warrants  had  been  confirmed  by  the  parliament. 

M.  Fouquet  replied,  that  things  were  often  done  under  the 
name  of  legal  authority  which  were  found  upon  reflection  to 
be  unjust. 

The  chancellor  interrupted  him  :  "  What !  do  you  mean  to 
say  that  the  king  abuses  his  power  ?"  M.  Fouquet  replied, 
"  It  is  you,  sir,  who  say  it,  not  I ;  this  was  not  my  idea,  and, 
in  my  present  situation,  I  can  not  but  wonder  at  your  wishing 
to  implicate  me  still  further  with  his  majesty ;  but,  sir,  you 
yourself  well  know  that  we  may  be  mistaken.  "When  you  sign 
a  sentence,  you  believe  it  just,  yet  the  next  day  you  annul  that 
sentence  ;  thus  you  see  it  is  possible  to  change  our  opinion." 

"  But,"  said  the  chancellor,  "  though  you  will  not  acknowl- 
edge the  power  of  the  court,  you  answer  and  put  interroga- 
tories, and  you  are  now  upon  the  sellette."  "  It  is  true,  I  am 
so,"  he  replied,  "  but  it  is  not  voluntarily ;  I  am  brought  here 
against  my  will ;  it  is  a  power  I  must  obey,  and  a  mortifica- 
tion which  God  has  inflicted  upon  me,  and  which  I  receive 
from  his  hands ;  after  the  services  I  have  rendered,  and  the 
offices  I  have  had  the  honor  to  bear,  I  might  have  been  spared 
this  humiliation. 

The  chancellor  then  continued  the  examination  respecting 
the  pension  of  the  gabelles,  to  which  the  replies  of  M.  Fou- 
quet were  extremely  satisfactory.     The  examination  will  pro- 

*  Stool  on  which  a  prisoner  sits. 

M.    DE    P0MP0NNE.  299 

cee<i,  and  I  shall  send  you  a  faithful  account  of  it ;  I  am 
anxious  to  know  whether  my  letters  come  safely  to  your 

Your  sister,  who  is  with  our  ladies  at  the  Faubourg,  has 
signed  ;  she  is  now  with  the  community,  and  seems  perfectly 
satisfied.    • 

Your  aunt  does  not  appear  at  all  displeased  with  her ;  I  did 
not  think  it  was  she  who  had  taken  the  leap,  but  some  other 
person.  You  know,  of  course,  of  our  defeat  at  Gigeri,*  and  as 
those  who  formed  the  plan  wish  to  throw  the  failure  upon 
those  who  executed  it,  they  intend  to  bring  Gadagne  to  trial. 
There  are  some  who  will  be  satisfied  with  nothing  less  than 
his  head ;  but  the  public  is  persuaded  that  he  could  not  have 
advised  otherwise  than  he  did.  M.  d'Aleth,  who  excommuni- 
cated the  subaltern  officers  of  the  king,  who  were  for  compel- 
ling the  clergy  to  sign,  is  very  much  talked  'of  here.  This 
will  ruin  him  with  your  father,  while  it  will  bring  him  into 
favor  with  Pere  Annat.f 

Adieu !  The  desire  of  gossiping  has  seized  me,  but  I  must 
not  yield  to  it ;  the  narrative  style  should  be  concise. 


Friday,  November  20,  1664. 
M.  Fouquet  was  examined  this  morning  respecting  the  gold 
mark ;  he  answered  extremely  well ;  several  of  the  judges 
bowed  to  him ;  the  chancellor  reproved  them  and  said  that, 
as  he  was  a  Breton,  it  was  not  the  custom.  "  It  is  because  you 
are  Bretons  that  you  bow  so  low  to  M.  Fouquet."  In  return- 
ing on  foot  from  the  arsenal,  M.  Fouquet  asked  what  the  work- 
men were  doing ;  he  was  told  they  were  making  the  vase  of  a 
fountain ;  he  went  to  them,  and  gave  his  opinion,  and  after- 

*  The  first  expedition  against  Algiers. 
f  A  Jesuit,  confessor  of  Louis  XIY. 

300  LETTERS    TO 

ward  returned  smiling  to  Artagan.  "  You  wonder,  no  doubt," 
said  he,  "  at  my  interfering,  but  I  formerly  understood  these 
things  well."  The  friends  of  M.  Fouquet,  and  I  among  the 
rest,  are  pleased  at  this  delightful  composure ;  others  call  it 
affectation ;  such  is  the  world.  Madame  Fouquet,  his  mother, 
has  given  the  queen  a  plaster  that  has  cured  her  convulsions, 
which,  properly  speaking,  were  nothing  but  the  vapors. 

Many,  believing  what  they  wish,  imagine  that  the  queen 
will,  on  this  account,  intercede  with  his  majesty  to  pardon  the 
unfortunate  prisoner ;  but  I,  who  hear  a  great  deal  of  the  kind- 
ness of  this  country,  do  not  believe  a  word  of  it.  The  noise 
the  plaster  has  made  is  wonderful ;  every  body  says  that  Mad- 
ame Fouquet  is  a  saint,  and  has  the  power  of  working  mira- 

To-day,  the  21st,  M.  Fouquet  has  been  questioned  respecting 
the  wax  and  sugar  taxes.  At  certain  objections  that  were 
raised,  and  which  appeared  to  him  ridiculous,  he  lost  his  tem- 
per. This  was  going  a  little  too  far,  and  there  was  a  haughti- 
ness in  his  manners  that  gave  offense.  He  will  correct  him- 
self;  for  this  mode  of  proceeding  is  by  no  means  advisable; 
but  patience  will  sometimes  escape ;  it  seems  to  me  as  if  I 
should  have  done  the  same. 

I  have  been  at  Sainte-Marie,  where  I  saw  your  aunt,  who 
appeared  to  be  swallowed  up  in  devotion ;  she  was  at  mass, 
and  in  quite  a  religious  ecstasy.  Your  sister  was  looking  very 
pretty ;  fine  eyes,  and  great  animation ;  the  poor  child  fainted 
this  morning ;  she  is  very  much  indisposed  ;  her  aunt  is  uni- 
formly kind  to  her.  M.  de  Paris  has  given  her  a  sort  of  de- 
feasance, which  gained  her  heart,  and  induced  her  to  sign  the 
wicked  formulary.*  I  have  not  mentioned  the  subject  to  either 
of  them  ;  M.  de  Parisf  has  forbidden  it.     But  I  must  give  you 

*  This  relates  to  the  condemnation  of  the  five  propositions  of  Jan- 
senius ;  the  clergy  of  France  protested  against  them,  and  drew  up  a 
formulary,  which  the  nuns  of  Port  Royal  and  many  others  refused  to 
sign ;  this  refusal,  in  the  end,  caused  their  dispersion. 

f  The  then  archbishop  of  Paris  was  the  sage  Perefixe. 

M.    DE    POMPONNE.  301 

an  idea  of  prejudice ;  our  sisters  of  Sainte-Marie  said  to  me, 
''  God  be  praised,  who  has  at  length  touched  the  heart  of  this 
poor  child  !  she  is  now  in  the  way  of  obedience  and  salvation." 
From  thence  I  went  to  Port  Royal,  where  I  found  a  certain 
great  recluse*  of  your  acquaintance,  who  accosted  me  with, 
u  Well,  this  silly  goose  has  signed  ;  God,  in  short,  has  aban- 
doned her ;  she  is  lost."  I  thought  I  should  have  died  with 
laughing,  when  I  reflected  on  the  different  effects  of  prejudice ; 
(n  this,  you  see  the  world  in  its  true  mirror.  I  think  extremes 
ihould  always  be  avoided. 

Saturday  evening.  M.  Fouquet  entered  the  chamber  this 
morning,  and  was  interrogated  upon  the  subject  of  grants ;  he 
was  attacked  weakly  and  defended  himself  ably.  Between 
you  and  me,  this  is  not  the  worst  part  of  the  business.  Some 
good  angel  must  have  informed  him  that  he  had  carried  him- 
self too  proudly ;  for  he  altered  his  manner  to-day,  and  the 
judges  altered  theirs,  by  not  bowing  to  him.  The  examina- 
tion will  not  be  resumed  till  Wednesday ;  and  I  shall  not 
write  to  you  till  then.  I  have  only  to  add,  that  if  you  con- 
tinue to  pity  me  so  much,  for  the  trouble  I  take  in  writing  to 
you,  and  desire  me  not  to  go  on,  I  shall  think  my  letters  tire 
you,  and  that  you  do  not  like  the  fatigue  of  answering  them  ; 
but  I  promise  not  to  write  such  long  ones  in  future,  and  I  ab- 
solve you  from  answering  them,  though  I  prize  your  letters 
highly.  After  these  declarations,  I  should  think  you  would 
not  attempt  to  interrupt  the  course  of  my  gazettes.  In  flat- 
tering myself  that  I  contribute  a  little  to  your  pleasure,  I  add 
greatly  to  my  own.  I  have  so  few  opportunities  of  proving 
my  friendship  and  esteem  for  you,  that  I  must  not  neglect  such 
as  present  themselves.  Pray  make  my  compliments  to  your 
family  and  your  neighbors.     The  queen  is  much  better. 

*  No  doubt  the  celebrated  Doctor  Arnauld  d'Andillv. 

302  LETTERS    TO 


Monday,  November  24,  1664. 
If  I  know  my  own  heart,  it  is  I  who  am  the  party  obliged, 
by  your  receiving  so  kindly  the  information  I  send  you.  Do 
you  think  I  have  no  pleasure  in  writing  to  you  ?  Believe  me, 
I  have  a  great  deal,  and  am  as  much  gratified  in  writing,  as 
you  can  be  in  reading  what  I  write.  The  sentiments  you  en- 
tertain upon  the  subject  of  my  letter  are  very  natural ;  hope  is 
common  to  us  all,  without  our  knowing  why ;  but  it  supports 
the  heart.  J  dined  at  Sainte-Marie  de  Sainte-Antoine  two 
days  ago ;  the  lady  abbess  related  to  me  the  particulars  of 
four  visits  she  has  received  from  Puis  *  *  *,*  within  the  last 
three  months,  at  which  I  am  very  much  astonished.  He  came 
to  tell  her  that  the  now  blessed  Bishop  of  Geneva  (Frangois  de 
Sales)  had  been  so  extremely  kind  to  him  during  his  illness 
last  summer,  that  he  could  not  help  feeling  most  strongly  the 
obligations  he  owed  him  ;  and  he  requested  her  to  obtain  the 
prayers  of  the  community  for  the  deceased.  He  gave  her,  for 
the  accomplishment  of  his  holy  purpose,  a  thousand  crowns, 
and  entreated  her  to  show  him  the  bishop's  heart.  When  he 
was  at  the  grate,  he  fell  upon  his  knees,  and  remained  full  a 
quarter  of  an  hour,  bathed  in  tears,  apostrophizing  this  heart, 
and  praying  for  a  spark  of  the  divine  fire  which  had  consumed 
it.  The  lady  abbess  also  melted  into  tears  ;  and  gave  him  the 
relics  of  the  deceased,  with  which  he  hurried  away.  During 
these  visits,  he  appeared  so  earnest  about  his  salvation,  so  dis- 
gusted with  the  court,  so  transported  with  the  idea  of  his  con- 
version, that  a  person  more  clear-sighted  than  the  abbess  would 
have  been  deceived.  She  contrived  to  introduce  the  subject  of 
Fouquet ;  he  answered  her  as  a  man  who  was  interested  in 
nothing  but  religion;  that  he  was  not  sufficiently  known; 
that  justice  would  be  done  him,  agreeably  to  the  will  of  God, 

*  This  name  appears  to  be  altered,  and  ought,  as  will  be  seen  further 
on,  to  be  Puissort. 

M.    DE    POMPONNE.  303 

if  from  no  other  consideration.  I  never  was  more  surprised 
than  at  this  conversation.  If  you  ask  me  what  I  think  of  it,  I 
must  answer,  that  I  do  not  know ;  that  it  is  perfectly  unintel- 
ligible to  me  ;  that  I  can  not  see  the  drift  of  this  comedy,  nor, 
if  it  is  not  a  comedy,  how  the  steps  he  has  since  taken  are  to 
be  reconciled  with  his  fine  speeches. 

Time  must  explain  all  this,  for  it  is  at  present  perfectly 
enigmatical.  Do  not  mention  it,  for  the  lady  abbess  desired 
me  not  to  make  the  circumstance  known. 

I  have  seen  M.  Fouquet's  mother.  She  told  me  she  had 
sent  the  plaster  to  the  queen  by  Madame  de  Charost.*  The 
effect  was  certainly  wonderful :  in  less  than  an  hour  the  queen 
felt  her  head  relieved,  and  so  great  a  discharge  of  offensive 
matter  took  place,  that  had  it  remained  it  might  have  suffo- 
cated her  in  the  next  fit.  The  queen  said  aloud  that  it  was 
this  matter  which  had  occasioned  the  convulsions  of  the  pre- 
ceding night,  and  that  Madame  de  Fouquet  had  cured  her. 
The  queen-mother  thought  the  same,  and  said  so  to  the  king, 
who  did  not  attend  to  her.  The  physicians,  who  had  not 
been  consulted  in  applying  the  plaster,  withheld  their  senti- 
ments on  the  subject,  but  made  their  court  at  the  expense  of 
truth.  The  same  day,  these  poor  women  threw  themselves  at 
the  feet  of  the  king,  who  took  no  notice  of  them.  Every  body 
is  acquainted  with  the  circumstance  of  the  cure  ;  but  no  one 
knows  what  will  come  of  it :  we  must  wait  the  event  with  pa- 

M.  Fouquet  was  interrogated  again  this  morning,  but  the 
chancellor's  manner  was  changed;  it  seems  as  if  he  were 
ashamed  of  receiving  his  lesson  every  day  from  Boucherat.f 
He  told  the  reporter  to  read  the  article,  upon  which  he  wished 
to  examine  the  accused ;  and  the  reading  lasted  so  long,  that 
it  was  half-past  ten  o'clock  before  it  was  finished.     He  then 

*  Fouquet's  daughter.  „ 

f  Boucherat,  then  master  of  requests,  and  afterward  chancellor,  had 
been  appointed  to  put  the  seals  on  the  papers  of  the  superintendent. 
He  was  on  the  commission  charged  with  the  prosecution. 

304  LETTERS    TO 

said,  "  Let  Fouquet  be  brought  in ;"  but  corrected  himself  im 
mediately  by  saying  "  M.  Fouquet ;"  as,  however,  he  had  not 
directed  the  prisoner  to  be  sent  for,  he  was  still  at  the  Bastille. 
A  messenger  was  then  dispatched  for  him,  and  he  arrived  at 
eleven  o'clock.  He  was  questioned  respecting  the  grants, 
and  answered  extremely  well ;  but  he  was  a  little  at  a  loss  as 
to  certain  dates,  which  would  have  injured  him  considerably, 
if  the  examiner  had  been  skillful  and  awake ;  but,  instead  of 
this,  the  chancellor  was  asleep.  This  was  observed  by  M. 
Fouquet,  who  would  have  laughed  heartily,  if  he  had  dared. 
At  length  the  chancellor  roused  himself,  and  continued  the 
examination  ;  and  though  M.  Fouquet  rested  too  much  on  a 
prop  that  might  have  failed  him,  the  event  proved  that  he 
knew  what  he  was  about ;  for,  in  his  misfortune,  he  has  cer- 
tain little  advantages  that  belong  exclusively  to  himself.  If 
they  go  on  slowly  every  day,  the  trial  will  last  a  long  time. 

I  shall  write  to  you  every  evening ;  but  I  shall  not  send  my 
letter  till  Saturday  or  Sunday  evening :  it  will  give  you  an 
account  of  the  proceedings  of  Thursday,  Friday,  and  Saturday, 
and  I  will  contrive  that  you  shall  receive  one  on  Thursday, 
informing  you  of  the  proceedings  of  Monday,  Tuesday,  and 
Wednesday :  in  this  way  your  letters  will  not  be  long  de- 
tained. I  beg  my  compliments  to  your  recluse,  and  to  your 
better  half.  I  say  nothing  of  your  dear  neighbor ;  it  will  soon 
be  my  turn  to  give  you  news  of  her  myself. 


Thursday,  November  2Y,  1664. 
The  examination  upon  the  subject  of  the  grants  was  re- 
sumed to-day.  The  chancellor  kindly  endeavored  to  drive 
M.  Fouquet  to  extremities,  and  to  embarrass  him,  but  he  did 
not  succeed.  M.  Fouquet  acquitted  himself  admirably ;  he 
did  not  come  into  the  chamber  of  justice  till  eleven  o'clock, 
because  the  chancellor  made  the  reporter  read  as  before ;  but 

M.    DE    POMPONNE  305 

in  spite  of  this  parade  of  justice,  he  said  the  worst  he  could 
of  our  poor  friend.  The  reporter*  always  took  his  part,  be- 
cause the  chancellor  evidently  leaned  to  the  other  side  of  the 
question.  At  last  he  said,  "  Here  is  a  charge  to  which  the 
accused  will  not  be  able  to  answer."  "  And  here,  sir,"  said 
the  reporter,  "  is  a  plaster  that  will  cure  the  weakness ;"  he 
made  an  excellent  justification  of  him,  and  then  added :  "  In 
the  place  in  which  I  stand,  sir,  I  shall  always  speak  the  truth, 
in  whatever  form  it  presents  itself  to  me." 

This  allusion  to  a  plaster  called  forth  a  smile  from  the  au- 
dience, as  it  reminded  them  of  the  one  that  has  lately  made 
so  much  noise  at  court.  The  accused  was  then  brought  in  ; 
he  only  remained  an  hour  in  court ;  and,  on  his  leaving  it, 
M.  d'Ormesson  was  complimented  by  several  persons  upon  his 

I  must  relate  to  you  what  I  myself  did.  Some  ladies  pro- 
posed to  me  to  accompany  them  to  a  house  exactly  op- 
posite the  arsenal,  where  we  could  see  the  return  of  our  poor 
friend.  I  was  masked,f  but  my  eye  caught  him  the  moment 
he  was  in  view.  M.  d'Artagan  was  at  his  side,  and  fifty 
mousquetaires  about  thirty  or  forty  steps  behind  him.  He 
appeared  thoughtful.  The  moment  I  saw  him  my  legs 
trembled,  and  my  heart  beat  so  violently  that  I  could  scarcely 
support  myself.  In  approaching  us  to  re-enter  his  dungeon, 
M.  d'Artagan  pointed  out  to  him  that  we  were  there,  and 
he  saluted  us  with  the  same  delightful  smile  you  have  so 
often  witnessed.  I  do  not  believe  he  recognized  me ;  but  I 
own  I  was  strangely  affected  when  I  saw  him  enter  the  little 
door.     If  you  knew  the  misfortune  of  having  a  heart  like 

*  The  reporter  was  M.  d'Ormesson,  one  of  the  most  respectable  mag- 
istrates of  his  time. 

f  It  was  still  the  custom  for  ladies  to  wear  masks  when  they  went 
abroad;  a  custom  which  is  retained  in  Corneille's  plays,  and  which  was 
brought  from  Italy  by  the  Medicis,  with  many  other  customs  equally 
disagreeable.  These  masks  of  black  velvet,  to  which  the  hups  sue* 
ceeded,  were  intended  as  a  preservative  to  the  complexion. 



mine,  I  am  sure  you  would  pity  me ;  but  from  what  I  know 
of  you,  I  do  not  think  you  have  much  the  advantage  of  me 
in  this  point.  I  have  been  to  see  your  dear  neighbor.  I  pity 
you  as  much  at  losing  her  as  I  rejoice  at  her  being  with  us. 
We  have  had  a  good  deal  of  conversation  upon  the  subject 
of  our  poor  friend  ;  she  has  seen  Sappho,*  who  has  consider- 
ably raised  her  spirits.  I  shall  go  there  to-morrow,  to  recruit 
my  own  ;  for  I  often  feel  the  want  of  consolation  ;  it  is  not 
that  I  do  not  hear  a  thousand  things,  that  should  inspire 
hope ;  but  alas !  my  imagination  is  so  lively,  that  every 
thing  which  is  uncertain  destroys  me. 

Friday,  November  28. 
The  court  opened  early  this  morning.  The  chancellor  said 
he  had  now  to  speak  of  the  four  loans :  D'Ormesson  observed, 
that  it  was  a  very  unimportant  affair,  and  one  upon  which  no 
blame  could  be  attached  to  M.  Fouquet,  as  he  had  declared 
from  the  beginning.  An  attempt  was  made  to  contradict 
him :  he  begged  leave  to  explain  the  matter  according  to  his 
own  view  of  it,  and  desired  his  colleagues  to  listen  to  him. 
The  court  was  attentive,  and  he  convinced  them  that  it  was 
a  very  trifling  business.  The  accused  was  then  ordered  to  be 
brought  in  >  it  was  eleven  o'clock.  You  will  remark  that  he 
has  never  been  more  than  an  hour  upon  the  sellette.  The 
chancellor  still  wished  to  speak  of  the  loans.  M.  Fouquet 
requested  he  might  be  allowed  to  state  what  he  had  omitted 
the  day  before,  respecting  the  grants ;  leave  was  given  him, 
and  he  said  wonders.  The  chancellor  asked  him,  "  Have  you 
had  your  acquittance  for  the  employment  of  this  sum  ?"  He 
replied  that  he  had,  but  that  it  was  conjointly  with  other 
things  which  he  had  marked,  and  which  will  come  in  their 
course.  "But,"  said  the  chancellor,  "at  the  time  you  re- 
ceived these  acquittances  you  had  not  incurred  the  expenses  f 
"  True,"  replied  M.  Fouquet,  "  but  the  sums  were  set  apart 

*  Mademoiselle  Seudery,  sister  of  the  author,  known  under  this 
name  by  an  unfortunate  fertility  of  imagination ;  a  woman  who  had 
more  wit  than  her  writings  display,  though  they  display  a  great  deal. 

M.    DE    POMPONNE.  307 

for  the  purpose."  "  This  is  not  enough,"  said  the  chancellor. 
"  Pardon  me,  sir,"  said  M.  Fouquet ;  "  when  I  gave  you  your 
appointments,  for  instance,  I  sometimes  received  the  acquit- 
tance a  month  beforehand,  and  as  the  sum  was  set  apart,  it 
was  exactly  the  same  as  if  it  had  been  paid."  u  That  is  true," 
said  the  chancellor ;  "  I  was  much  indebted  to  you."  M. 
Fouquet  replied  that  he  had  no  intention  to  reproach  him, 
and  that  he  was  at  that  time  happ^  to  serve  him ;  but  the  cir- 
cumstance had  occurred  to  his  mind,  as  an  instance  in  point, 
and  he  could  not  help  making  use  of  it. 

The  court  has  closed  till  Monday.  They  seem  determined 
to  prolong  the  affair  as  much  as  possible.  Puis***  has  prom- 
ised to  give  the  accused  as  few  opportunities  of  speaking  as 
he  can.  The  fact  is,  they  are  afraid  of  him.  They  would, 
therefore,  interrogate  him  summarily,  and  even  pass  over  some 
of  the  articles ;  but  he  is  determined  they  shall  not  do  this, 
nor  will  he  suffer  them  to  judge  his  cause  without  his  being 
permitted  to  justify  himself  upon  every  separate  head  of  accu- 
sation. Puis***  is  in  continual  apprehension  of  offending 
Petit.  He  excused  himself  the  other  day  by  saying  that 
M.  Fouquet  had  certainly  spoken  too  long,  but  that  he 
had  no  means  of  interrupting  him.  Ch***  is  constantly  be- 
hind the  screen  whenever  the  examinations  take  place ;  he 
hears  all  that  is  said,  and  offers  to  go  to  the  judges  and  explain 
the  reasons  by  which  he  is  led  to  draw  such  opposite  conclu- 
sions. All  this  is  irregular,  and  shows  a  great  inveteracy 
against  the  unfortunate  prisoner.  I  own  I  have  no  longer  any 
hope.  Adieu,  sir,  till  Monday.  I  wish  you  could  see  my 
heart,  you  would  then  be  convinced  of  the  sincerity  of  a  friend- 
ship which  you  profess  to  prize. 


Two  days  ago  every  one  believed  that  it  was  intended  to 
protract  M.  Fouquet's  affair  as  much  as  possible  ;  but  now  the 

308  LETTERS    TO 

reverse  of  this  appears  to  be  the  case,  and  the  interrogations 
are  hurried  over  in  a  most  extraordinary  manner.  This  morn- 
ing the  chancellor  took  his  paper  and  read;  as  he  would  an  in- 
ventory, ten  heads  of  accusation,  without  giving  the  accused 
time  to  reply.  M.  Fouquet  said,  "  I  do  not  wish,  sir,  to  pro- 
long the  business,  but  I  entreat  you  to  give  me  time  to  answer 
the  charges  that  are  brought  against  me.  You  question  me, 
and  it  appears  as  if  you  did  not  wish  me  to  reply ;  but  it  is 
of  consequence  to  me  to  speak.  There  are  many  articles  I 
must  explain ;  and  it  is  but  justice  that  I  should  answer  to  all 
those  which  are  formally  alleged  against  me."  The  court  was 
then  obliged  to  attend,  contrary  to  the  wishes  of  the  ill-dis- 
posed, who  could  not  bear  to  hear  him  defend  himself  so  ably. 
He  answered  extremely  well  to  every  accusation.  The  trial 
will  now  go  on,  but  will  be  conducted  so  rapidly  that  I  expect 
the  examination  will  close  this  week.  I  have  just  been  sup- 
ping at  the  Hotel  de  Nevers ;  the  mistress  of  the  house  and  I 
conversed  a  good  deal  upon  this  subject.  We  are  uneasy  to  a 
degree,  which  you  only  can  comprehend,  for  I  bave  just  re- 
ceived your  letter ;  it  surpasses  even  my  own  feelings  upon  the 
subject.  You  put  my  modesty  to  too  great  a  trial  in  asking 
me  upon  what  terms  I  am  with  you  and  your  dear  recluse.  It 
seems  to  me  that  I  see  him  and  hear  him  say  what  you  tell 
me.  I  am  quite  piqued  that  it  was  not  I  who  metamorphosed 
Pierrot  to  Tartuffe  ;*  it  was  so  natural  that  if  I  had  half  the 
wit  you  ascribe  to  me,  it  would  have  flowed  mechanically  from 
my  pen. 

I  must  relate  to  you  a  little  anecdote,  which  is  perfectly  true, 
and  which  can  not  fail  to  amuse  you.  The  king  has  lately 
employed  himself  in  making  verses ;  Messieurs  de  Saint  Aignan 
and  Dangeau  put  him  in  the  way  of  it.  He  wrote  a  little 
madrigal  the  other  day  with  which  he  was  not  much  pleased. 
One  morning  he  said  to  Marshal  de  Grammont,  "  M.  le  mare- 
chal,  read  this  little  madrigal,  if  you  please,  and  tell  me  if  you 
ever  saw  so  silly  a  one  ;  because  it  is  known  that  I  have  lately 

*  The  Chancellor  Seguier's  name  was  Pierre. 

M.    DE     P0MP0NNE.  309 

been  fond  of  poetry  they  bring  me  all  the  nonsense  that  is 
written."  The  marshal  having  read  it,  said  to  the  king,  "  Your 
majesty  is  an  excellent  judge  of  every  thing :  this  is  certainly 
without  exception  the  most  silly  and  ridiculous  madrigal  I  ever 
read."  The  king  laughed,  and  continued,  "  Must  not  the  writer 
be  a  great  fool  ?"  "  There  is  no  other  name  for  him,"  said  the 
marshal.  "  O  !"  said  the  king,  "  how  delighted  I  am  that  you 
have  spoken  your  sentiments  so  freely  !  I  am  myself  the  author 
of  it."  "  Ah !  sire,  what  treason  have  I  uttered !  I  entreat 
your  majesty  to  give  it  me  again.  I  read  it  hastily."  "  No, 
M.  le  marechal ;  the  first  sentiments  are  always  the  most  na- 
tural." The  king  was  very  much  entertained  at  this  little 
frolic ;  but  those  about  him  thought  it  the  most  cruel  thing 
that  could  be  done  to  an  old  courtier.  For  myself,  I  love  to 
make  reflections,  and  I  wish  the  king  would  reflect  in  like 
manner  on  this  adventure,  that  he  might  see  how  far  he  is 
from  knowing  the  truth.  We  are  upon  the  point  of  experien- 
cing a  still  more  painful  instance  of  royal  delusion,  in  the  re- 
purchase of  our  rents,  at  an  expense  that  will  send  us  all  to 
the  workhouse.  The  emotion  it  occasions  is  great,  but  the 
hardship  is  greater.  Do  you  not  think  this  is  undertaking  too 
much  at  once  ?  The  loss  of  a  part  of  my  income  is  not  the 
point  that  affects  me  the  most. 

Tuesday,  December  2. 

Our  dear  unfortunate  friend  spoke  for  two  hours  this  morn- 
ing, but  so  uncommonly  well  that  several  persons  could  not 
help  expressing  their  admiration.  Among  others,  M.  de  Re- 
nard  said,  "  This  man,  it  must  be  owned,  is  incomparable  ;  he 
never  spoke  so  well  in  the  parliament ;  he  maintains  his  self- 
possession  better  than  he  has  ever  done."  The  subject  was  the 
six  millions,  and  his  own  expenses.  Nothing  could  exceed 
what  he  said.  I  shall  write  to  you  on  Thursday  and  on  Fri- 
day ;  these  will  be  the  last  days  of  the  examination,  and  I 
shall  go  on  to  the  end. 

God  grant  my  last  letter  may  contain  the  information  I  so 

21Q  LETTERS     TO 

ardently  wish.  Adieu,  my  dear  sir ;  desire  our  recluse  (Ar- 
nauld)  to  pray  for  our  poor  friend.  I  heartily  embrace  you 
both,  and,  for  modesty's  sake,  I  include  your  wife. 


Tranquillity  reigns  throughout  the  family  of  the  unfortu- 
nate Fouquet.  It  is  said  that  M.  de  Nesmond  declared  on 
his  death-bed,  that  his  greatest  sorrow  was  that  he  had  not 
excepted  to  these  two  judges ;  that  if  he  had  lived  to  the  end 
of  the  trial  he  would  have  repaired  his  fault,  and  that  he 
prayed  God  to  pardon  his  error. 

M.  Fouquet,  as  I  observed  before,  spoke  to-day  two  com- 
plete hours,  upon  the  subject  of  the  six  millions  ;  he  command- 
ed attention,  and  performed  wonders.  Every  one  was  affected 
in  his  way.  Puissort  made  gestures  of  disbelief  and  disappro- 
bation, that  shocked  every  honest  man  in  court. 

When  M.  Fouquet  had  done,  M.  Puissort  rose  impetuously, 
and  said,  "Thank  God* it  can  never  be  said  that  he  has  not 
had  his  bellyful  of  speaking."  What  say  you  to  this  speech  ? 
Was  it  not  worthy  of  a  judge  ?  It  is  said  that  the  chancel- 
lor is  very  much  alarmed  at  the  erysipelas  that  occasioned  the 
death  of  M.  de  Nesmond,  fearing  there  may  be  a  repetition 
of  the  judgment  in  store  for  himself.  If  the  apprehension 
could  inspire  him  with  the  sentiments  of  a  man  about  to  ap- 
pear before  God,  it  would  be  something ;  but  it  will  be  said  of 
him,  I  fear,  as  of  Argante,  e  mori  come  visse  ;*  he  died  as  he 

"Wednesday,  December  3. 
I  have  received  your  letter ;  it  has  proved  to  me  that  I 
have  not  obliged  a  person  who  is  ungrateful ;  nothing  can  be 
more  kind,  nothing  more  gratifying.  I  must  be  wholly  ex- 
empt from  vanity  to  be  insensible  to  such  praises.  I  assure 
you,  I  am  delighted  at  the  good  opinion,  you  entertain  of  my 

*  Gerusalemme  Liberata,  canto  19  ;  the  verse  runs  thus: 
Moriva  Argante,  e  tal  moria  qual  visse. 

M.    DE    POMPONNE.  311 

heart,  and  I  further  assure  you,  without  meaning  compliment 
for  compliment,  that  my  esteem  for  you  infinitely  surpasses 
the  power  of  ordinary  language  to  express,  and  that  I  experi- 
ence real  pleasure  and  consolation  in  being  able  to  inform 
you  of  events  in  which  we  are  both  so  much  interested.  I 
am  very  glad  your  dear  recluse  takes  her  part  in  them  ;  I  sup- 
posed you  would  make  them  known  also  to  your  incompara- 
ble neighbor.  You  gratify  me  extremely  in  telling  me  that  I 
have  made  some  progress  in  her  heart ;  there  is  no  one  in 
whose  affections  I  would  more  gladly  establish  myself,  and 
when  I  would  indulge  in  a  little  gayety,  I  think  of  her  and 
her  enchanted  palace.  But  I  return  to  business,  from  which  I 
have  been  insensibly  led,  to  tell  you  of  the  sentiments  I  enter- 
tain for  yourself  and  your  amiable  friend. 

M.  Fouquet  was  upon  the  selette  again  to-day.  The  Abbe 
d'Effiat  bowed  to  him,  as  he  passed.  In  returning  his  bow, 
he  said  to  him,  with  the  same  enchanting  smile  we  have  so 
often  observed,  "  Sir,  I  am  your  very  humble  servant."  The 
abbe  was  so  much  affected  that  he  could  not  speak. 

As  soon  as  M.  'Fouquet  was  in  tht;  chamber,  the  chancel- 
lor desired  him  to  be  seated.  He  replied,  "  Sir,  you  took  ad- 
vantage, yesterday,  of  my  placing  myself  upon  the  sellette : 
you  infer  from  my  doing  so  that  I  acknowledge  the  authority 
of  the  court ;  as  that  is  the  case,  I  beg  leave  to  stand."  The 
chancellor  then  told  him  he  might  withdraw.  M.  Fouquet  re- 
plied, "  I  do  not  mean  by  this  to  advance  any  new  objection ; 
I  only  wish  to  make  my  protestation,  as  usual,  and,  the  charge 
being  cited  against  me,  to  be  permitted  to  reply." 

This  was  agreed  to.  He  then  seated  himself,  and  the  ex- 
amination respecting  the  pension  of  the  gabelles  was  resumed, 
to  which  he  replied  admirably.  If  this  mode  continue,  the 
interrogations  will  be  favorable  to  him.  The  spirit  and  firm- 
ness he  displays  are  the  subject  of  general  conversation  at 
Paris.  He  has  asked  one  thing  of  a  friend  which  makes  me 
tremble :  he  has  entreated  him  to  let  him  know  his  sentence, 
whether  favorable  or  otherwise,  in  some  private  way,  by  sig- 

312  LETTERS    TO 

nal,  the  instant  it  is  pronounced,  that  he  may  have  time  to 
reconcile  himself  to  his  fate  before  it  be  announced  to  him 
officially ;  adding,  that  if  he  has  half  an  hour  to  prepare  him- 
self, he  shall  hear  without  emotion  the  worst  that  can  be  told 
him.  This  has  made  me  weep,  and  I  am  certain  it  will  affect 
you  also  very  painfully. 

There  were  few  persons  at  the  examination,  on  account  of 
the  queen's  illness ;  she  was  supposed  to  be  dying,  but  is  now 
somewhat  better.  Yesterday  evening  she  received  the  viati- 
cum. It  was  the  most  affecting  and  solemn  spectacle  that 
can  be  imagined,  to  see  the  king  and  the  whole  court  going 
for  the  holy  sacrament,  and  conducting  it  to  the  palace.  It 
was  received  with  a  profusion  of  lights.  The  queen  made  an 
effort  to  rise,  and  took  it  with  a  devotion  that  reduced  every 
one  to  tears.  It  was  not  without  difficulty  that  she  had 
been  brought  to  consent ;  the  king  was  the  only  one  who 
could  make  her  listen  to  reason  ;  to  every  other  person  she 
said  that  she  was  very  willing  to  receive  the  communion,  but 
not  the  viaticum ;  it  was  full  two  hours  before  she  could  be 
prevailed  upon. 

The  general  approbation  that  is  given  to  M.  Fouquet's  an- 
swers, is  very  grating  to  Petit*  It  is. even  thought  he  will 
engage  Puis***  to  feign  illness,  in  order  to  interrupt  the  tor- 
rent of  admiration,  and  to  have  time  himself  to  take  breath  at 

*  Petit  is  a  feigned  name,  meant  either  for  Le  Tellier  or  Colbert* 
With  regard  to  Puis***,  as,  from  the  sense  of  the  expressions,  he  must 
be  one  of  the  judges  against  Fouquet,  there  is  little  doubt  that  Puissort 
is  the  person  alluded  to ;  and  what  is  said  of  him  in  the  preceding  Let- 
ters must  be  so  understood. 

It  may  further  be  remarked  that  the  conduct  of  Colbert  and  Le  Tel- 
lier, in  this  business,  was  extremely  well  characterized  by  a  criticism 
of  the  great  Turenne,  who  interested  himself  warmly  for  Fouquet.  To 
some  one  who  blamed  the  violence  of  Colbert,  and  praised  the  modera- 
tion of  Le  Tellier,  Turenne  replied,  "  True,  sir;  M.  Colbert  has  most 
desire  that  he  should  be  hanged,  and  M.  Le  Tellier  most  fear  lest  he 
should  not  be." 

M.    DE    POMPONNE.  313 

this,  and  other  instances  of  his  ill  success.  I  am  the  most 
obedient  servant  of  the  dear  recluse,  of  your  lady,  and  the 
adorable  Amalthee. 


Thursday,  December  4,  1664. 
At  length  the  examinations  are  over.  M.  Fouquet  entered 
the  chamber  this  morning.  The  chancellor  ordered  his  pro- 
ject against  the  state  to  be  read  throughout.  M.  Fouquet 
spoke  first  upon  the  subject.  "  I  believe,  sir,"  said  he,  u  you 
can  derive  nothing  from  this  paper,  but  the  effect  it  has  just 
produced,  of  overwhelming  me  with  confusion."  The  chan- 
cellor replied,  "  You  have  yourself  heard  and  seen  by  it  that 
your  regard  for  the  state,  which  you  have  so  much  insisted 
upon  in  court,  was  not  so  considerable  but  that  you  would 
have  embroiled  it  from  one  end  to  the  other."  "  Sir,"  replied 
M.  Fouquet,  "  this  idea  occurred  to  me  only  in  the  height  of 
the  despair  in  which  the  cardinal  often  placed  me  ;  especially 
when,  after  contributing  more  than  any  man  in  the  world  to 
his  return  to  France,  I  found  myself  repaid  by  the  basest  in- 
gratitude. I  had  a  letter  from  himself,  and  one  from  the 
queen-mother,  in  proof  of  what  I  say ;  but  they  have  been 
taken  away  with  my  papers,  as  have  several  letters.  It  is  to 
be  lamented  that  I  did  not  burn  this  unfortunate  paper  which 
had  so  completely  escaped  my  mind  and  my  memory  that  I 
have  been  nearly  two  years  without  thinking  of  it  or  knowing 
even  that  it  existed.  However  this  affair  may  terminate,  I  disown 
it  with  my  whole  heart,  and  I  entreat  you,  sir,  to  believe,  that 
my  regard  for  the  person  and  the  service  of  the  king  has  never 
been  in  the  slightest  degree  diminished."  "  It  is  very  difficult 
to  believe  this,"  said  the  chancellor,  "  when  we  see  such  con- 
trary sentiments  expressed  at  a  different  period."  M.  Fouquet 
replied,  u  At  no  period,  sir,  even  though  at  the  hazard  of  my 

life,  have  I  ever  abandoned  the  king's  person  ;  and  at  the  time 


314  LETTERS    TO 

in  question,  you,  sir,  were  at  the  head  of  the  council  of  his 
enemies,  and  your  relations  gave  free  passage  to  the  army 
against  him." 

The  chancellor  felt  this  stroke  ;  but  our  poor  friend  was  irri- 
tated, and  therefore  not  quite  master  of  himself.  The  subject 
of  his  expenses  was  afterward  introduced.  "I  undertake," 
said  he,  "  to  prove  that  I  have  not  incurred  a  single  expense 
which,  either  by  means  of  my  private  income,  with  which  the 
cardinal  was  well  acquainted,  or  my  appointments,  or  my 
wife's  fortune,  I  was  not  able  to  afford  ;  and  if  I  do  not  prove 
this  satisfactorily,  I  consent  to  be  treated  with  the  utmost  igno- 
miny." In  short,  this  interrogation  lasted  two  hours;  M. 
Fouquet  defended  himself  ably,  but  with  a  degree  of  warmth 
and  petulance ;  the  reading  of  the  project  having  ruffled  him 

When  he  had  left  the  court,  the  chancellor  said,  "  This  is 
the  last  time  we  shall  interrogate  him."  M.  Poncet  then  went 
up  to  the  chancellor,  and  said,  "  You  have  made  no  mention, 
sir,  of  the  proofs  there  are  that  he  had  attempted  to  put  his 
project  against  the  state  into  execution."  The  chancellor  re- 
plied, "  They  are  not,  sir,  sufficiently  strong ;  he  would  have 
refuted  them  too  easily."  Upon  which  Saint  Helene  and 
Puissort  said,  "  Every  one  is  not  of  that  opinion."  This  is  a 
subject  to  muse  upon.    The  rest  to-morrow. 

Friday,  December  5. 
This  morning  the  subject  of  the  requests  was  mentioned, 
which  are  of  little  importance  except  that  there  are  persons, 
not  ill  disposed,  who  wish  the  sentence  to  refer  to  them.  The 
business  on  the  side  of  the  prosecution  is  at  an  end.  It  is  now 
M.  d'Ormesson's  turn  to  speak ;  he  is  to  recapitulate  the  sev- 
eral matters.  This  will  occupy  the  whole  of  the  next  week, 
during  which  the  time  we  shall  pass  can  scarcely  be  called 
living.  For  myself,  you  would  hardly  know  me,  and  I  do  not 
think  I  can  hold  out  so  long.  M.  d'Ormesson  has  desired  me 
not  to  see  him  again  till  the  business  is  over :  he  is  in  the  con- 

M.    DE     POMPONNE.  815 

clave,  and  will  have  intercourse  with  no  one.  He  affects  great 
reserve ;  he  listens  to  me,  but  does  not  answer.  I  had  the 
pleasure,  in  bidding  him  adieu,  to  acquaint  him  with  my  sen- 
timents. I  will  inform  you  of  all  I  hear.  God  grant  my  last 
tidings  may  be  good  ;  I  desire  it  fervently.  I  assure  you  we 
are  all  very  much  to  be  pitied.  I  mean  you  and  I,  and  all 
who,  like  ourselves,  are  interested  in  the  event.  Adieu,  my 
dear  sir :  I  am  so  dull  this  evening,  and  my  heart  is  so  much 
oppressed  that  I  must  conclude. 


Tuesday,  December  9,  1664. 
1  assure  you  the  days  pass  very  tediously ;  suspense  is  ex- 
tremely painful :  but  it  is  an  evil  to  which  the  whole  family 
of  the  unfortunate  prisoner  is  habituated.     I  have  seen,  and 
can  not  sufficiently  express  my  admiration  of  them.     It  seems 
as  if  they  had  never  known,  never  read,  the  events  that  have 
taken  place  in  former  times.    What  surprises  me  most  is,  that 
Sappho  is  just  like  the  rest ;  she,  whose  understanding  and 
penetration  are  unlimited.     When  I  reflect  upon  this  circum- 
stance, I  persuade  myself,  or,  at  least,  I  wish  to  persuade  my- 
self, that  they  know  more  of  the  matter  than  I  do.     When  I 
reason  too  with  others,  on  whose  judgment  I  can  rely,  and 
who  are  less  prejudiced,  because  less  interested,  I  find  all  our 
measures  so  just  that  it  will  be  really  a  miracle  if  the  business 
does  not  terminate  according  to  our  wishes.     We  are  some- 
times only  lost  by  a  single  voice,  but  that  voice  is  every  thing. 
I  remember,  however,  the  recusations,  respecting  which  these 
poor  women  thought  themselves  so  sure,  and  we  lost  them  by 
five  to  seventeen ;  since  that  time  their  confidence  has  been 
my  distrust.     Yet  I  have  a  little  spark  of  hope  in  my  heart ; 
I  hardly  know  from  whence  it  comes,  nor  whither  it  would 
lead,  nor  is  it  sufficient  to  make  me  sleep  in  peace.     I  talked 
over  this  affair  yesterday  with  Madame  du  Plessis  ;*  I  can  see 
*  Madame  du  Plessis  Belliere,  the  intimate  friend  of  Fouquet.    He 


nobody,  but  those  who  will  converse  with  me  on  the  subject, 
and  who  are  of  the  same  opinion  as  myself.      She  hopes,  as  I 
do,  without  knowing  the  reason.  "  Why  do  you  hope  ?"  "  Be- 
cause I  do ;"  this  is  our  answer ;  a  notable  one,  it  must  be 
confessed,    I  told  her,  with  the  greatest  sincerity  in  the  world, 
that  if  the  sentence  should  be  in  conformity  to  our  wishes,  the 
height  of  my  joy  would  be  to  dispatch  instantly  a  man  on 
horseback  with  the  pleasing  intelligence  to  you ;  and  that  the 
pleasure  of  picturing  the  delight  I  should  give  you,  would  ren- 
der my  own  delight  complete.     She  perfectly  agreed  with  me ; 
and  our  imagination  gave  us  more  than  a  quarter  of  an  hour's 
holiday  on  the  occasion.     I  must  correct  my  last  day's  report 
of  the  examination  respecting  the  project  against  the  state.     I 
related  it  to  you  exactly  as  I  heard  it ;  but  the  same  person 
has  since  tasked  his  memory,  and  told  it  to  me  over  again 
more  accurately.     Every  body  has  heard  it  from  the  different 
judges.    After  M.  Fouquet  had  said  that  the  only  effect  that 
could  be  drawn  from  this  project  was  the  confusion  the  read- 
ing it  had  occasioned  him,  the  chancellor  observed,  "  You  can 
not  deny  that  this  is  a  crime  against  the  state."     "  I  confess, 
sir,"  he  replied,  "  that  it  is  a  foolish  and  extravagant  thing,  but 
not  a  crime  against  the  state.     I  entreat  you,  gentlemen,"  said 
he,  turning  toward  the  judges,  "  to  suffer  me  to  explain  what 
constitutes  a  state  crime ;  not  that  I  consider  you  less  capable 
of  defining  it  than  myself,  but  I  have  had  more  time  perhaps 
than  you  to  examine  the  question.     A  crime  against  the  state, 
is  when  a  person,  holding  an  important  office,  and  being  in 
the  secrets  of  a  prince,  suddenly  goes  over  to  the  side  of  his 
enemy,  engages  his  whole  family  in  the  same  interests,  opens 
the  gates  of  a  city,  of  which  he  is  the  governor,  to  the  foe, 
shuts  them  against  his  lawful  sovereign,  and  reveals  to  his 
enemy  the  secrets  of  the  state.     This,  gentlemen,  is  what  is 
called  a  state  crime."    The  chancellor  did  not  know  which  way 

had  commissioned  her  to  take  his  papers  from  his  house  at  St.  Mande. 
She  was  not  in  due  time  to  execute  it.  She  was  at  first  exiled,  and 
afterward  recalled.    She  died  in  1705.  aged  100  years. 

M.    DE    POMPONNE,  31*5 

to  look,  and  the  judges  could  scarcely  refrain  from  laughter. 
This  is  the  truth  without  any  embellishment.  You  will  agree 
with  me,  that  nothing  could  be  more  spirited,  more  delicate  in 
its  satire,  and  at  the  same  time  more  diverting. 

The  whole  kingdom  knows  and  admires  the  prisoner's  reply 
on  this  occasion.  He  afterward  entered  minutely  into  his  de- 
fense, and  said  what  I  told  you  before.  I  should  have  been 
quite  unhappy  if  you  had  not  known  this  circumstance,  and 
our  dear  friend  would  have  lost  much  by  it.  This  morning  M. 
d'Ormesson  began  the  recapitulation.  He  spoke  well  and 
clearly.  On  Thursday  he  will  give  his  opinion ;  his  colleague 
will  then  speak  for  two  days  ;  it  will  take  several  more  for  the 
rest  to  give  their  opinions.  Some  of  the  judges  say  that  they 
shall  enlarge  a  great  deal  upon  the  subject,  so  that  we  have  to 
languish  in  expectation  till  next  week.  In  this  state  of  sus- 
pense we  can  scarcely  be  said  to  live. 

"Wednesday,  December  10. 
M.  d'Ormesson  has  continued  the  recapitulation ;  he  has 
done  wonders,  that  is,  he  has  spoken  with  extraordinary  clear- 
ness, intelligence,  and  ability.  Puissort  interrupted  him  five  or 
six  times,  with  no  other  intention  than  to  embarrass  him,  and 
prevent  his  speaking  so  well :  he  said  to  him  in  one  instance, 
where  his  argument  went  strongly  in  favor  of  M.  Fouquet, 
"  Sir,  we  shall  speak  after  you,  we  shall  speak  after  you." 


Thursday,  December  11,  1664. 
M.  d'Ormesson  has  not  yet  finished.  When  he  came  to  the 
article  of  the  gold  mark,  Puissort  said,  "  This  speaks  strongly 
against  the  accused."  "  It  may  be  so,"  said  M.  d'Ormesson, 
but  there  are  no  proofs."  u  What !"  said  Puissort,  "  have  not 
the  two  officers  been  examined  V  "  No,"  replied  M.  d'Ormes- 
son.    "  It  can  not  be,"  said  Puissort     "  I  can  find  no  such 


18  LETTERS    TO 

thing  in  the  proceedings,"  said  M.  d'Ormesson.  Upon  this, 
Puissort  rose  in  a  fury,  and  said,  "  Sir,  you  ought  rather  to  say, 
I  find  here  a  very  gross  omission."  M.  d'Ormesson  made  no 
answer,  but  if  Puissort  had  addressed  another  word  to  him,  he 
would  have  replied,  "  I  am  here,  sir,  as  a  judge,  and  not  as  an 
informer."  You  may  remember  what  I  once  said  to  you  at 
Fresne,  that  M.  d'Ormesson  would  not  discover  the  omission 
till  there  was  no  remedy.  The  chancellor  also  interrupted  M. 
d'Ormesson  several  times  ;  he  told  him  it  was  not  necessary  to 
speak  of  the  project.  This  must  be  from  malice  ;  for  many 
will  suppose  it  a  great  crime,  and  the  chancellor  would  be  glad 
that  the  proofs,  which  are  truly  ridiculous,  should  be  with- 
held, that  the  idea  which  prevails  might  not  be  weakened.  As, 
however,  it  is  one  of  the  articles  of  the  indictment,  M.  d'Or- 
messon will  not  omit  it.  He  will  finish  to-morrow.  Sainte- 
Helene  will  speak  on  Saturday.  On  Monday  the  two  reporters 
will  give  their  opinion,  and  on  Tuesday,  the  whole  committee 
will  assemble  early  in  the  .morning,  and  not  separate  till  judg- 
ment be  passed.  I  tremble  when  I  think  of  this  day.  The 
hopes  of  the  family  are  very  sanguine.  Faucault  goes  about 
every  where,  and  shows  a  writing  of  the  king's,  in  which  he  is 
made  to  say  that  he  should  think  it  very  improper  if  any  of 
the  judges  leaned  toward  the  prisoner,  from  the  circumstance 
of  his  papers  being  taken  away  ;  that  it  was  he  who  ordered 
it  to  be  done  ;  that  there  is  not  one  that  can  be  of  use  to  the 
prisoner  in  his  defense ;  that  they  are  papers  that  relate  merely 
to  his  office  ;  and  that  he  makes  this  known  that  the  judges 
may  not  draw  improper  inferences.  What  say  you  to  this 
magnanimous  proceeding  ?  Are  you  not  grieved  that  a  prince, 
who  would  love  justice  and  truth  if  he  were  left  to  himself, 
should  be  prevailed  upon  to  act  thus  ?  He  said  the  other  day 
at  his  levee,  that  Fouquet  was  a  dangerous  man  ;  this  has  been 
put  into  his  head  by  some  one.  In  short,  our  enemies  no 
longer  keep  within  bounds ;  they  run  at  full  speed ;  threats, 
promises,  every  thing  is  resorted  to  ;  but  if  God  be  on  our  side, 
we  shall  be  stronger  than  they.     You  will  perhaps  have  an- 

M.    DE    POMPONNE.  319 

other  letter  from  me  ;  if  we  have  good  news,  I  shall  dispatch 
an  express  to  you,  with  all  possible  expedition ;  but  how  I 
shall  act,  or  what  will  become  of  me,  in  any  other  case,  I  am 
at  a  loss  to  conjecture.  A  thousand  compliments  to  our  re- 
cluse, and  to  your  better  half.  Pray  earnestly  to  God  for  our 

Saturday,  December,  13. 
After  having  fixed  and  changed,  and  fixed  and  changed 
again,  it  was  at  length  resolved  that  M.  d'Ormesson  should 
give  his  opinion  to-day ;  that  Sunday  might  pass  over,  and 
Sainte-Helene  begin  anew  on  Monday,  which  would  make  a 
stronger  impression.  M.  d'Ormesson's  opinion  was,  that  the 
accused  should  be  sentenced  to  perpetual  banishment,  and  his 
property  confiscated  to  the  king.  M.  d'Ormesson  has  by  this 
means  established  his  reputation  as  a  judge,  'the  sentence  is  a 
little  severe,*  but  let  us  pray  that  no  worse  counsel  may  be 
given  ;  it  is  always  glorious  to  be  the  first  in  an  assault. 


"Wednesday,  December  IT,  1664. 
You  languish,  my  dear  friend,  after  intelligence,  and  so  do 
we.  I  was  sorry  I  sent  you  word  that  judgment  would  be  pro- 
nounced on  Tuesday ;  for,  not  hearing  from  me,  you  must  have 
thought  it  was  all  over  ;  but  our  hopes  are  as  strong  as  ever. 
I  informed  you,  on  Saturday,  in  what  way  M.  d'Ormesson  had 
reported  the  cause,  and  how  he  had  voted,  but  I  did  riot  suf- 
ficiently express  the  extraordinary  esteem  he  has  acquired  by 
his  conduct  in  this  business.  I  have  heard  several  of  this  pro- 
fession say  that  his  speech  was  a  master-piece ;  that  he  ex- 

*  Severe  as  it  was,  the  king  aggravated  the  punishment  still  more. 
Fouquet's  dilapidations  were  certainly  criminal,  but  Cardinal  Mazarin 
gave  less  and  took  much  more.  The  licentiousness  of  the  times,  and 
the  force  of  example,  were  an  excuse,  if  any  excuse  could  be  made. 

g20  LETTERS    TO 

plained  himself  with  great  clearness,  and  rested  his  opinion 
upon  the  most  convincing  arguments :  it  was  eloquence  and 
grace  combined.  In  short,  no  man  had  ever  a  finer  op- 
portunity of  making  himself  known,  and  no  man  ever  made  a 
better  use  of  it.  If  he  had  wished  to  open  his  door  to  con- 
gratulations, his  house  would  have  been  crowded ;  but  he  was 
too  modest  for  this,  and  kept  out  of  the  way.  His  colleague, 
Sainte-Helene,  indignant  at  his  success,  spoke  on  Monday  and 
Tuesday.  He  resumed  the  affair  weakly  and  miserably,  read- 
ing what  he  had  to  say,  without  adding  any  new  circumstance 
or  giving  a  different  turn  to  it.  He  voted,  but  did  not  assign 
his  reasons,  that  M.  Fouquet  should  lose  his  head  for  his  crime 
against  the  state  ;  and  to  gain  votes  on  his  side,  he  played  the 
Normand,  and  alleged  that  it  was  probable  the  king,  who 
alone  could  do  it,  would  remit  the  sentence  and  pardon  him, 
It  was  yesterday  he  performed  this  brilliant  action,  at  which 
we  were  as  much  grieved  as  we  had  before  been  satisfied  with 
the  conduct  of  M.  d'Ormesson. 

This  morning  Puissort  spoke  for  four  hours,  but  with  so 
much  vehemence,  fury,  rage,  and  rancor,  that  several  of  the 
judges  were  shocked ;  and  it  is  thought  his  intemperance  will 
do  more  good  than  harm  to  our  poor  friend.  He  even  re- 
doubled his  violence  toward  the  end,  and  said,  upon  the  sub- 
ject of  the  crime  against  the  state,  that  the  example  of  a  cer- 
tain Spaniard,  who  had  so  great  a  horror  for  a  rebel  that  he 
ordered  his  house  to  be  burned,  because  Charles  of  Bourbon 
had  passed  through  it,  ought  to  make  us  blush  at  our  moder- 
ation ;  that  we  had  much  greater  reason  to  hold  in  abhorrence 
the  crime  of  M.  Fouquet ;  that  the  halter  and  the  gibbet  were 
the  only  proper  punishments  for  him  ;  but  that,  in  considera- 
tion of  the  high  offices  he  had  held,  and  the  noble  families  to 
which  he  was  related,  he  would  relax  his  opinion,  and  vote  with 
M.  de  Sainte-Helene,  that  he  be  beheaded. 

What  say  you  to  this  moderation  ?  Is  it  because  he  is  the 
uncle  of  M.  de  Nesmond,  and  was  excepted  against,  that  he 
conducts  himself  so  generously  ?     For  my  part,  I  can  scarcely 

M.    DE     POMPONNE.  321 

contain  myself  when  I  think  of  this  scandalous  proceeding.  I 
do  not  know  whether  judgment  will  be  pronounced  to-morrow, 
or  the  business  be  protracted  to  the  end  of  the  week.  We 
have  still  many  difficulties  to  encounter :  but  perhaps  some 
one  will  side  with  M.  d'Ormesson,  whose  opinion  at  present 
stands  alone. 

But  I  have  to  beg  your  attention  to  two  or  three  little  inci- 
dents, which  are  no  less  extraordinary  than  true.  In  the  first 
place,  then,  a  comet  made  its  appearance  about  four  days  ago. 
It  was  announced,  at  first,  by  some  women  only,  who  were 
laughed  at  for  their  pains  ;  but  it  has  now  been  seen  by  every 
one.  M.  d'Artagan  sat  up  last  night,  and  saw  it  very  distinctly. 
M.  de  Neure,  a  great  astronomer,  says  it  is  of  considerable 
magnitude.  M.  du  Foin  has  seen  it,  with  three  or  four  other 
learned  men.  I  have  not  seen  it  myself,  but  I  intend  sitting 
up  to-night  for  the  purpose  :  it  appears  about  three  o'clock.  I 
tell  you  of  this,  ignorant  whether  you  will  be  pleased  or  dis- 
pleased with  the  intelligence. 

Berrier,  in  the  literal  sense  of  the  word,  is  become  mad ;  he 
has  been  bled  profusely,  and  is  in  a  perfect  frenzy.  He  raves 
of  wheels  and  gibbets,  and  has  even  mentioned  particular 
trees ;  he  declares  he  is  going  to  be  hanged,  and  makes  so 
dreadful  a  noise  that  his  keepers  are  obliged  to  chain  him. 
This  is  evidently  a  judgment  of  Providence,  and  a  very  just  one, 
A  criminal  of  the  name  of  Lamothe,  who  was  in  prison  and 
about  to  be  tried,  has  deposed  that  Messrs.  de  B***,*  C***, 
and  B***  (they  add  also  Puissort,  or  Poncet,  but  of  him  I 
am  not  so  certain)  urged  him  several  times  to  implicate  M. 
Fouquet  and  Lorme,  promising  if  he  would  do  so  that  they 
would  obtain  his  pardon  ;  but  he  refused,  and  published  the 
circumstance  in  court,  before  his  trial  took  place.  He  was 
condemned  to  the  galleys.  The  wife  and  mother  of  M.  Fou- 
quet have  procured  a  copy  of  the  deposition,  and  will  present 
it  to-morrow  at  the  chamber.     Perhaps  it  will  not  be  received, 

*  M.  de  Boucherat  was  one  of  the  commissioners :  the  other,  B***, 

is,  no  doubt,  Berrier. 


322  LETTERS    TO 

because  the  judges  are  now  giving  their  opinions  ;  but  it  may 
"be  made  known,  and  must  produce  a  strong  impression  on  the 
court.     Is  not  all  this  very  extraordinary  ? 

I  must  tell  you,  also,  of  a  heroic  act  of  Masnau.  He  had 
been  dangerously  ill,  for  a  whole  week,  of  a  bladder  com- 
plaint ;  he  took  a  variety  of  medicines,  and  was  at  last  bled, 
at  midnight.  The  next  morning,  at  seven  o'clock,  he  insisted 
on  being  carried  to  the  chamber  of  justice,  where  he  suffered 
the  most  excruciating  pain.  The  chancellor  saw  him  turn 
pale,  and  said,  "  This  is  not  a  fit  place  for  you,  sir ;  you  had 
better  retire."  "  True,  sir,"  he  replied,  "  but  I  may  as  well 
die  here."  The  chancellor  perceiving  him  ready  to  faint,  and 
finding  him  bent  upon  remaining,  said,  "  Well,  sir,  retire  ;  we 
will  wait  for  you."  Upon  this  he  went  out  for  a  quarter  of  an 
hour,  during  which  time  he  passed  two  stones,  of  so  enormous 
a  size,  that  it  might  be  considered  as  a  miracle,  if  men  were 
deserving  that  God  should  work  miracles  in  their  favor.  This 
worthy  man  then  returned  into  court,  gay  and  cheerful,  every 
one  astonished  at  the  adventure. 

This  is  all  I  know.  Every  body  is  interested  in  this 
weighty  affair.  Nothing  else  is  talked  of.  Men  reason,  infer, 
calculate,  pity,  fear,  wish,  hate,  admire,  are  overwhelmed ;  in 
short,  my  dear  sir,  our  present  situation  is  a  most  singular 
one ;  but  the  resignation  and  firmness  of  our  dear  unfortu 
nate  friend  is  perfectly  heavenly.  He  knows  every  day  what 
passes,  and  every  day  volumes  might  be  written  in  his  praise. 
1  beg  you  to  thank  your  father*  for  the  gratifying  note  he 
has  written  me,  and  the  charming  works  he  sent  me.  I  have 
read  them,  though  my  head  feels,  alas,  as  if  it  were  split  into 
pieces.  Tell  him  I  am  delighted  he  loves  me  a  little— a 
great  deal,  I  mean — and  that  I  love  him  still  more.  I  have 
received  your  last  letter ;  alas !  you  overpay  so  abundantly 
the  trifling  services  I  render  you,  that  I  remain  your  debtor. 

*  Arnaud  d'Andilly,  the  translator  of  Josephus. 

M.    DE    POMPONNE.  823 


Friday,  December  19,  1664. 
This  is  a  day  which  gives  us  great  hopes  ;  but  I  must  go 
back  in  my  story.  I  told  you  that  M.  Puissort  had,  on 
Wednesday,  voted  for  the  death  of  our  friend  ;  on  Thursday, 
Nogues,  Gisaucourt,  Feriol,  and  Peraut,  voted  in  the  same 
way.  Roquesante  concluded  the  day,  and,  after  speaking 
well  for  an  hour,  sided  with  M.  d'Ormesson.  This  morning 
our  hopes  have  sailed  before  the  wind,  for  several  votes  that 
were  doubtful  have  been  given :  Toison,  Masnau,  Verdier,  La 
Baume,  and  Catinet,  and  all  in  favor  of  M.  d'Ormesson's  opin- 
ion.* It  was  then  Poncet's  turn  to  speak  ;  but,  thiuking  that 
those  who  remained  were  almost  all  disposed  to  be  lenient,  he 
would  not  begin,  though  it  was  only  eleven  o'clock.  It  is 
thought  he  wishes  to  consult  with  some  one  what  he  shall 
say,  and  that  he  is  not  willing  to  bring  disgrace  upon  him- 
self, and  consign  a  man  to  death  unnecessarily.  Such  is  our 
present  situation,  and,  though  so  favorable  a  one,  our  joy  is 
not  complete ;  for  you  must  know  that  M.  H.  is  so  enraged, 
that  we  expect  some  unjust  and  atrocious  proceeding  in  con- 
sequence, that  will  plunge  us  again  into  despair.  But  for' 
this,  my  dear  sir,  we  should  have  the  satisfaction  of  seeing 
our  friend,  though  unfortunate,  yet  safe,  as  far  as  his  life  is 
concerned,  which  is  a  great  thing.  We  shall  see  what  will 
happen  to-morrow.  We  are  now  seven  to  six.  Le  Feron, 
Moussy,  Brillac,  Benard,  Renard,  Voisin,  Pontchartrain,  and 

*  Names  of  the  committee  who  judged  Fouquet : 


D'Ormesson,   Le  Feron,        Moussy,  Brillac,  Renard, 

Benard,  Roquesante,    La  Toison,       La  Baume,       Verdier, 

Masnau,  Catinet,  Pontchartrain. 


St.  Helene,      Piussort,         Gisaucourt,     Feriol,  NogueX 

Heraut,  Poncet,  Pore  Seguier,  The  Chancellor. 

324  LETTERS    TO 

the  chancellor,  have  not  yet  voted ;  but  of  these,  we  shall 
have  by  far  the  greater  number. 

Fall  on  your  knees,  sir,  and  return  thanks  to  God ;  the 
life  of  our  poor  friend  is  saved.     Thirteen  were  of  M.  d'Or- 
messon's  opinion,  and  nine  of  Sainte-Helene's.     I  am  almost 
wild  with  joy. 

Sunday  evening. 
I  was  sadly  afraid  some  other  person  would  have  the  pleas- 
ure of  communicating  to  you  the  joyful  tidings.  My  courier 
was  not  very  diligent ;  he  said,  on  setting  out,  that  he  would 
sleep  no  where  but  at  Livri ;  he  assures  me,  however,  he  was 
the  first  that  arrived.  Heavens  !  how  gratifying  must  the  in- 
telligence have  been  to  you  !  How  inconceivably  sweet  are 
the  moments  that  relieve  the  heart  on  a  sudden  from  the 
anguish  of  so  painful  a  suspense !  It  will  be  a  long  time 
before  I  shall  lose  the  joy  I  received  yesterday.  It  was,  ic 
reality,  too  great — too  much,  almost,  for  me  to  bear.  The 
poor  man  learned  the  news  by  signals,  a  few  moments  after 
judgment  was  pronounced,  and  I  dare  say  felt  it  in  all  its 
extent.  This  morning  the  king  sent  the  Chevalier  du  Guet 
to  the  mother  and  wife  of  M.  Fouquet,  recommending  them 
both  to  go  to  Montlucon  in  Auvergne,  the  marquis  and 
Marchioness  of  Charost  to  Ancenis,  and  the  young  Fou- 
quet to  Joinville  in  Champagne.  The  good  old  lady  sent 
word  to  the  king  that  she  was  seventy-two  years  of  age ;  that 
she  besought  his  majesty  not  to  deprive  her  of  her  only  re- 
maining son,  the  support  of  her  life,  which  apparently  was 
drawing  near  its  close.  The  prisoner  does  not  yet  know  his 
sentence.  It  is  said  he  will  be  taken,  to-morrow,  to  Pignerol, 
for  the  king  has  changed  his  banishment  into  imprisonment. 
His  wife,  contrary  to  all  rule,  is  not  permitted  to  see  him. 
But  let  not  this  proceeding  abate  the  least  particle  of  your 
joy ;  mine,  if  possible,  is  increased ;  for  I  see  in  this  more 
clearly  the  greatness  of  our  victory.    I  shall  faithfully  relate 

M.    DE    POMPONNE.  325 

to  you  the  sequel  of  this  curious  history.     I  have  given  you 
what  has  passed  to-day ;  the  rest  to-morrow. 

Tuesday  evening. 

This  morning,  at  ten  o'clock,  M.  Fouquet  was  conducted  to 
the  chapel  of  the  Bastille.  Foucault  held  the  sentence  in  his 
hand.  "  You  must  tell  me  your  name,  sir,"  said  he,  "  that  I 
may  know  whom  I  address."  M.  Fouquet  replied,  "  You 
know  very  well  who  I  am ;  and  as  for  my  name,  I  will  not 
give  it  here,  as  I  refused  to  give  it  at  the  chamber  of  justice ; 
by  the  same  rule,  also,  I  protest  against  the  sentence  you  are 
going  to  read  to  me."  What  passed  being  written  down, 
Foucault  put  on  his  hat  and  read  the  sentence  ;  M.  Fouquet 
heard  it  uncovered.  Pecquet  and  Lavalee*  were  afterward 
separated  from  him,  and  the  cries  and  tears  of  these  poor 
men  melted  every  heart  that  was  not  of  iron  ;  they  made  so 
strange  a  noise  that  M.  d'Artagnan  was  obliged  to  go  and 
comfort  them ;  for  it  seemed  to  them  as  if  a  sentence  of 
death  had  just  been  read  to  their  master.  They  were  both 
lodged  in  the  Bastille,  and  it  is  not  known  what  will  be 
done  with  them. 

M.  Fouquet  went  to  the  apartment  of  M.  d'Artagnan :  while 
he  was  there,  he  saw  M.  d'Ormesson,  who  came  for  some  papers 
that  were  in  the  hands  of  M.  d'Artagnan,  pass  by  the  window. 
On  perceiving  him,  M.  Fouquet  saluted  him  with  an  open 
countenance,  expressive  of  joy  and  gratitude ;  he  even  cried 
out  to  him  that  he  was  his  humble  servant.  M.  d'Ormesson 
returned  the  salutation  with  very  great  civility,  and  came  with 
grief  of  heart  to  tell  me  what  had"  passed. 

At  eleven  o'clock  a  coach  was  ready,  into  which  M.  Fouquet 
entered,  with  four  guards.  M.  d'Artagnan  was  on  horseback 
with  fifty  musqueteers  ;  he  will  escort  him  to  Pignerol,  where 
he  will  leave  him  in  prison,  in  the  care  of  a  man  of  the  name 
of  St.  Mars,  who  is  a  very  honest  fellow  :  he  will  have  fifty 
soldiers  to  guard  his  prisoner.     I  do  not  know  whether  an- 

*  His  physician  and  his  servant. 

326  LETTERS    TO 

other  servant  has  been  allowed  our  friend ;  you  can  form  no 
idea  how  cruel  the  circumstance  of  taking  Pecquet  and  Lava- 
lee  from  him  appears  to  every  one  :  some  even  go  so  far  as  to 
draw  dreadful  inferences  from  it.  May  God  preserve  him,  as 
he  has  hitherto  done  :  in  him  we  must  put  our  trust,  and 
leave  our  friend  to  the  protection  of  that  Providence  which 
has  been  so  gracious  to  him.  They  still  refuse  him  his  wife, 
but  have  permitted  the  mother  to  remain  at  Pare,  with  the 
abbess  her  daughter.  L'Ecuyer  will  follow  his  sister-in-law  ; 
he  has  declared  that  he  has  no  other  means  of  subsistence. 
M«  and  Madame  de  Charost  are  going  immediately  to  Ancenis. 
M.  Bailly,  the  attorney-general,  has  been  turned  out  of  office, 
for  having  said  to  Gisaucourt,  before  judgment  was  pro- 
nounced, that  he  ought  to  retrieve  the  honor  of  the  Grand 
Council,  which  disgraced  if  C***,  Poncet,  and  him- 
self acted  together  in  the  business.  I  am  sorry  for  this  upon 
your  account:  it  is  a  rigorous  measure.  Tantcene  animis 
ccelestibus  irce  ?* 

But  no,  it  does  not  mount  so  high  as  that.  Such  harsh  and 
low  revenge  can  not  proceed  from  a  heart  like  that  of  our 
monarch's.  His  name  is  employed,  and,  as  you  see,  profaned. 
I  will  let  you  know  the  rest :  how  much  better  could  we  con- 
verse upon  these  things  !  it  is  impossible  to  communicate  by 
letter  all  we  have  to  say.  Adieu,  my  dear  sir,  I  have  not  so 
much  modesty  as  you,  and,  without  taking  refuge  in  the 
crowd,  I  assure  you  I  love  and  esteem  you  highly.  I  have 
seen  the  comet ;  its  train  is  of  a  beautiful  length.  I  partly 
found  my  hopes  on  it.  A  thousand  compliments  to  your  dear 


I  send  you  something  to  amuse  you  for  a  few  minutes.  You 
will  certainly  find  it  worth  reading.  It  is  charity  to  entertain 
you  both  in  your  solitude.  If  the  friendship  I  bear  the  father 
and  the  son  were  a  remedy  against  dullness,  it  is  an  evil  of 
which  you  would  never  have  to  complain.     I  am  just  come 

*  Virgil's  JEneid,  lib.  i. 

M.    DE    POMPONNE.  327 

from  a  place  where,  it  seems,  I  have  renewed  this  sentiment,  by 
talking  of  you  with  five  or  six  persons,  male  and  female,  who, 
like  me,  rank  themselves  among  your  friends ;  it  was  at  the 
Hotel  de  Nevers.  Your  wife  was  of  the  party  ;  she  will  tell 
you  of  the  delightful  little  comedians  we  met  there.  I  believe 
our  dear  friend  is  arrived,  but  I  have  had  no  certain  intelligence. 
It  is  only  known  that  M.  d'Artagnan,  continuing  his  obliging 
manners,  gave  him  the  necessary  fur  clothing,  that  he  might 
pass  the  mountains  without  inconvenience.  I  know  also  that 
M.  d'Artagnan  has  received  letters  from  the  king,  and  that  he 
told  M.  Fouquet  to  keep  up  his  spirits  and  his  courage,  and 
that  eveiy  thing  would  go  well.  We  are  always  looking  for- 
ward to  some  mitigation,  and  I  in  particular  :  hope  has  been 
too  kind  for  me  to  abandon  it.  Whenever  I  see  the  king  at 
our  ballets,  these  two  lines  of  Tasso  come  into  my  head : 

Goffredo  ascolta,  e  in  rigida  sembianza 
Porge  piu  di  timor  che  di  speranza.* 

But  I  care  not  to  despond :  we  must  follow  the  example  of 
our  poor  prisoner ;  he  is  tranquil  and  gay  ;  let  us  be  so  too. 
It  will  give  me  real  pleasure  to  see  you  here.  I  can  not  think 
your  exile  will  be  of  long  duration.  Assure  your  good  father 
of  my  affection  ;  I  can  not  help  expressing  myself  thus ;  and 
let  me  know  your  opinion  of  the  stanzas.  Some  of  them  are 
admired,  as  well  as  some  of  the  couplets. 


Thursday  Evening,  January,  1665. 
At  length,  the  mother,  the  daughter-in-law,  and  the  brother 
have  obtained  leave  to  be  together ;  they  are  going  to  Mont- 

*  Godfrey  attends,  and  with  a  brow  severe 
But  little  gives  to  hope,  and  much  to  fear. 

Hoole's  Translation. 

328  LETTERS    TO 

lucon  in  the  heart  of  Auvergne.  The  mother  had  permission 
to  go  to  Parc-aux-Dames  to  her  daughter,  but  her  daughter-in- 
law  has  prevailed  on  her  to  accompany  her.  M.  and  Madame 
de  Charost  are  on  their  way  to  Aucenis.  Pecquet  and  Lavalee 
are  still  in  the  Bastille.  Can  any  thing  be  more  dreadful  than 
this  injustice  ?  They  have  given  M.  Fouquet  another  servant. 
M.  d'Artagnan  was  his  only  comfort  in  his  journey.  It  is  said 
that  the  person  who  is  to  have  the  care  of  him  at  Pignerol  is 
a  very  worthy  creature.  God  grant  he  may  be  so !  or  rather, 
God  protect  our  friend !  He  has  already  protected  him  so 
visibly  that  we  ought  to  think  he  has  an  especial  care  of  him. 
La  Foret,  his  old  esquire,  accosted  him  as  he  was  going  away. 
"  I  am  delighted  to  see  you,"  said  Fouquet  to  him ;  "  I  know 
your  fidelity  and  affection :  tell  my  wife  and  mother  not  to 
despair,  that  my  courage  remains,  and  that  I  am  in  good 
health."  Is  not  this  admirable  ?  Adieu,  my  dear  sir ;  let  us 
be  like  him  ;  let  us  have  courage,  and  dwell  on  the  joy  occa- 
sioned by  the  glorious  sentence  of  Saturday. 
Madame  de  Grignan  is  dead.* 

Friday  Evening. 
It  seems,  by  your  thanks,  as  if  you  were  giving  me  my  dis- 
missal ;  but  I  will  not  receive  it  yet.  I  intend  to  write  to  you 
whenever  I  please,  and  as  soon  as  I  have  the  verses  from  Ponfc- 
neuf,  I  shall  send  them  to  you.  Our  dear  friend  is  still  upon 
the  road  :  it  was  reported  that  he  had  been  ill ;  every  body 
exclaimed,  "What!  already?"  It  was  reported  also  that  M. 
d'Artagnan  had  sent  to  court  to  know  what  he  was  to  do  with 
his  sick  prisoner,  and  that  he  had  been  answered  unfeelingly, 
that  he  must  proceed  with  him,  however  ill  he  might  be. 
This  is  all  false :  but  it  shows  the  general  feeling,  and  the 
danger  of  furnishing  materials  with  which  to  build  whatever 
horrid  castles  we  please.  Pecquet  and  Lavalee  are  still  in  the 
Bastille :  this  conduct  is  truly  unaccountable.  The  chamber 
will  be  resumed  after  the  Epiphany. 

*  Ange'lique  Claire  d'Angennes,  M.  de  Grignan's  first  wife. 

M.    DE    POMPONNE.  829 

I  should  think  the  poor  exiles  must  be  arrived  ere  this  at 
the  place  of  their  destination.  When  our  poor  friend  has 
reached  his,  I  will  inform  you ;  for  we  must  follow  him  to 
Pignerol :  would  to  God  we  could  bring  him  thence  to  the 
place  we  wish  !*  And  how  much  longer,  my  dear  sir,  will 
be  your  exile  ?  I  often  think  of  this.  A  thousand  compli- 
ments to  your  father.  I  have  been  told  your  wife  is  here :  I 
shall  call  upon  her.  I  supped  last  night  with  one  of  your  lady 
friends,  and  we  talked  of  paying  you  a  visit. 

*  It  was  the  general  opinion  that  Fouquet  died  in  prison  in  the  year 
1680.  See  Le  Steele  de  Louis  XIV,}  and  the  note  at  the  beginning  of 
the  letter  dated  April  3,  1680. 




Paeis,  August  5,  1684. 
While  I  am  expecting  your  letters,  I  must  relate  to  you  a 
very  amusing  little  history.  You  remember  how  much  you 
regretted  Mademoiselle  de  ***,  and  how  unfortunate  you 
thought  yourself  in  having  missed  her  for  a  wife :  "  Your 
best  friends  had  all  conspired  against  your  happiness ;  Mad- 
ame de  Lavardin  and  Madame  de  la  Fayette  had  done  you 
irreparable  injury !  A  young  lady  of  noble  birth,  great 
beauty,  and  ample  fortune,  was  lost  to  you ;  surely  a  man 
must  be  doomed  never  to  marry,  and  to  die  like  a  beggar,  to 
let  such  an  opportunity  escape  him,  when  it  was  in  his  own 
power!  The  Marquis  de  ***  was  not  such  a  fool;  he  has 
made  his  fortune,  and  is  settled.  You  must  certainly  have 
been  born  under  an  unlucky  planet  to  miss  such  a  match  ! 
Only  observe  her  conduct ;  she  is  a  saint ;  an  example  to  all 
married  women."     You  remember  all  this,  I  suppose,  my  dear 

*  This  only  son  of  Madame  de  Sevigne  inherited  neither  her  genius, 
her  virtues,  nor  her  energy  of  character.  She  treated  him  always  with 
great  kindness,  but  was  never  blind  to  his  faults.  Her  judicious  man- 
agement seems  to  have  had  a  salutary  effect  on  him,  after  the  follies 
of  his  youth  were  over.  He  reformed  in  a  measure,  and,  in  1684,  mar- 
ried Jeanne  Marguerite  de  Brenant  de  Mauron.  of  a  noble  and  rich 
family.  This  alliance  was  a  great  joy  to  Madame  de  Sevigne,  and  it 
is  to  the  illness  of  this  beloved  daughter-in-law  that  she  alludes  in  the 
second  letter. 

LETTERS    TO    HER    SON    THE    MARQUIS.         331 

son,  and  that  till  you  married  Mademoiselle  de  Mauron,  you 
were  ready  to  hang  yourself;  you  could  not  have  done  better 
than  you  have  done :  but  now  for  the  sequel. 

All  those  amiable  qualities  of  her  youth,  which  made  Mad- 
ame de  la  Fayette  say  she  would  not  have  her  for  a  daughter- 
in-law  if  she  could  bring  millions  to  her  son,  were  happily  di- 
rected to  the  service  of  religion  :  God  was  her  lover,  the  only 
object  of  her  affection,  all  her  desires  centered  in  this  single 
passion ;  but  as  every  thing  was  in  extremes  with  her,  her 
poor  head  could  not  bear  the  excess  of  zeal  and  fervent  devo- 
tion with  which  it  was  filled  ;  and,  to  satisfy  the  overflowings 
of  her  Magdalen  heart,   she  resolved  to  profit  by  good  ex- 
amples, by  reading  the  Lives  of  the  Holy  Fathers  of  the  Desert, 
and  of  Female  Penitents.     She  wished  to  become  herself  the 
heroine  of  such  admirable  histories,  and,- full  of  this  idea,  left 
her  house  and  family  about  a  fortnight  ago,  and,  taking  with 
her  only  five  or  six  pistoles,  and  a  little  foot-boy,  set  out  at 
four  o'clock  in  the  morning,  and,  taking  a  post-chaise  at  the 
skirts  of  the  town,  drove  to  Rouen,  fatigued  and  covered  with 
mud.     When  she  got  there,  she  bargained  for  a  passage  in  a 
ship  bound  for  the  Indies :  it  was  there,  it  seems,  God  had 
called  her ;  it  was  there  she  was  to  lead  a  life  of  penitence 
and  humiliation ;  it  was  there  the  map  had  pointed  out  to  her 
an  abode,  which  invited  her  to  pass  the  rest  of  her  days  in 
sackcloth  and  ashes ;  it  was  there  the  Abbe  Zosimus*  was  to 
visit  her,  and  administer  to  her  the  last  holy  rites  before  she 
expired.     Satisfied  with  this  resolution,  and  convinced  that 
Heaven  inspired  her  with  it,  she  discharged  her  foot-boy,  and 
sent  him  home  to  his  own  country,  while  she  waited  with 
great  impatience  the  departure  of  the  ship:  her  good  angel 
consoled   her  for   the   delay;    she   piously   forgot   husband, 
daughter,  father,  and  relations,  exclaiming : 

*  A  famous  hermit  of  the  sixth  century,  who  came  on  the  eve  of 
every  Good  Friday  to  give  the  sacrament  to  St.  Mary  the  Egyptian,  in 
a  desert  cave  on  the  banks  of  the  river  Jordan.  See  the  Lives  of  the 
Fathers  of  the  Desert. 

332  LETTERS    TO 

£a!  courage,  mon  coeur,  point  de  faiblesse  humaine.* 

And  now  the  moment  arrived  in  which  her  prayers  are 
heard ;  the  happy  moment  that  was  to  separate  her  for  ever 
from  her  native  land  ;  she  follows  the  law  of  the  Gospel ;  she 
leaves  all  to  follow  Christ. 

In  the  mean  time,  however,  her  family  missed  her,  and 
finding  she  did  not  return  to  dinner,  sent  to  all  the  churches 
in  the  neighborhood ;  she  was  not  there.  They  supposed  she 
would  return  at  night ;  no  tidings  were  heard  of  her.  They 
now  begin  to  be  uneasy,  the  servants  are  all  questioned,  they 
can  give  no  account  of  her  further  than  that  she  had  taken 
her  foot-boy  with  her.  "  She  must  certainly  be  at  her  coun- 
try-house." No.  "  Where  can  she  possibly  be  ?"  A  messenger 
is  dispatched  to  the  Cure  of  St.  Jacques-du-Haut-Pas ;  the 
cure  says  he  has  not  had  the  direction  of  her  conscience  for  a 
considerable  time  ;  for,  being  a  simple,  honest  man,  and  hav- 
ing observed  her  full  of  strange  chimerical  ideas  of  religion, 
he  would  have  nothing  to  do  with  her.  Every  one  was  no\* 
at  a  loss  what  to  think ;  two,  three,  four  days,  a  week  passed, 
still  no  news  of  her ;  at  length  her  friends  thought  of  sending 
to  some  of  the  sea-ports,  and,  by  mere  accident,  found  her  at 
Rouen,  on  the  point  of  setting  out  for  Dieppe,  and  from  thence 
to  the  other  extremity  of  the  globe.  They  secure  her,  and 
bring  her  back,  a  little  disconcerted  at  being  disappointed  of 
her  journey : 

J'allais,  j'etais,  l'amour  a  sur  moi  tant  d'empire.f 

A  lady  to  whom  she  had  imparted  her  design,  revealed  the 
whole  to  her  family,  who,  in  despair  at  her  folly,  would  fain 
have  concealed  it  from  her  husband,  who  happened  to  be  ab- 
sent from  Paris  at  that  time,  and  who  would  have  been  better 
pleased  at  an  exploit  of  gallantry  in  his  amiable  consort,  than 
such  a  ridiculous  expedition  as  this.     The  husband's  mother 

*  Courage,  my  heart !  disdain  all  human  weakness. 
t  I  went,  I  came,  impelled  by  mighty  Love. 

HER    SON    THE    MARQUIS.  333 

came  to  Madame  de  Lavardin,  and,  bathed  in  tears,  related  the 
whole  story,  while  the  latter  could  scarcely  refrain  from  laugh- 
ing in  her  face  ;  and  the  next  time  she  saw  my  daughter,  asked 
her  if  she  could  forgive  her  for  having  been  the  instrument  of 
preventing  her  brother  from  marrying  this  pretty  creature. 
Madame  de  la  Fayette  was  also,  in  her  turn,  informed  of  this 
tragical  story,  and  repeated  it  to  me  with  great  glee.  She  de- 
sires me  to  ask  you  if  you  are  still  angry  with  her ;  she  main- 
tains that  no  one  can  ever  repent  he  did  not  marry  a  mad  wo- 

"We  dare  not  mention  a  syllable  of  this  to  Mademoiselle  de 
Grignan,*  her  friend,  who  for  some  time  past,  has  been  rumi- 
nating upon  a  pilgrimage,  and,  as  a  preparative,  has  lately  ob- 
served a  profound  silence  toward  us  all.  What  think  you  of 
this  curious  narration  ?  Has  it  tired  you  ?  Are  you  satisfied 
now  ?  Adieu,  my  son.  Marshal  de  Schomberg  is  marching  to 
Germany  at  the  head  of  twenty-five  thousand  men,  to  hasten 
the  emperor's  signing.f  The  gazette  will  inform  you  of  the 
rest.    Adieu. 


Grignan,  September  20,  1695. 
And  so  you  are  at  our  poor  Rocks,  my  dear  children,  expe- 
riencing there  the  sweets  of  tranquillity,  exempt  from  all  du- 
ties and  all  fatigues,  and  our  dear  little  marchioness  can  breathe 
again !  Good  heavens !  how  well  you  describe  to  me  her  situ- 
ation, and  her  extreme  delicacy !  I  am  so  affected  at  it,  and 
I  enter  so  affectionately  into  your  ideas,  that  my  heart  is  op- 
pressed, and  tears  rush  into  my  eyes.  It  is  to  be  hoped  that 
you  will  only  have  the  merit  of  bearing  your  sorrows  with  re- 

*  Sister  of  Count  de  Grignan. 

f  This  relates  to  the  truce  which  was  on  the  point  of  being  con- 
cluded at  Ratisbon,  and  was  published  at  Paris  on  the  5th  of  October 

334  LETTERS    TO 

signation  and  submission ;  but  if  God  should  appoint  other- 
wise, like  all  unforeseen  events,  it  would  turn  out  differently 
from  your  expectations  ;  I  will  believe,  however,  that  this  dear 
being  will  last,  with  care,  as  long  as  any  one  ;  we  have  a  thou- 
sand examples  of  recovery.  Has  not  Mademoiselle  de  la 
Trousse  suffered  from  almost  every  kind  of  disorder  ?  In  the 
mean  time,  my  dear  child,  I  enter  into  your  feelings  with  infi- 
nite affection,  and  from  the  bottom  of  my  heart.  You  do  me 
justice  when  you  say  you  are  afraid  of  affecting  me  too  much 
by  relating  to  me  the  state  of  your  mind  ;  it  does  indeed  affect 
me,  be  assured  I  feel  for  you  keenly.  I  hope  this  letter  will 
find  you  calmer  and  happier.  Paris  seems  to  be  quite  out  of 
your  thoughts,  on  account  of  our  marchioness.  You  are  think- 
ing only  of  Bourbon  and  the  spring.  Continue  to  inform  me 
of  your  plans,  and  do  not  leave  me  in  ignorance  of  any  thing 
that  concerns  you. 

Give  me  some  account  of  the  letters  of  the  23d  and  30th  of 
August.  There  was  also  a  note  for  Galois,  which  I  desired  M. 
Branjon  to  pay.  Give  me  an  answer  upon  this  subject.  The 
good  Branjon  is  married  ;  he  has  written  me  a  very  charming 
letter  upon  the  occasion.  Let  me  know  whether  the  match  is 
as  good  as  he  represents  it  to  be.  The  lady  is  related  to  all 
the  parliament,  and  to  M.  d'Arouys.  Explain  this  to  me,  my 
child.  I  also  addressed  a  letter  to  you  for  our  Abbe  Charrier. 
He  will  be  sorry  not  to  see  you  again ;  and  M.  de  Toulon ! 
you  express  yourself  well  respecting  this  ox  ;  it  is  for  him  to 
tame  him,  and  for  you  to  stand  firm  where  you  are.  Eeturn 
the  abbe's  letter  to  Quimperle. 

With  regard  to  your  poor  sister's  health,  it  is  not  at  all  good. 
It  is  no  longer  her  loss  of  blood  that  alarms  us,  for  that  is  over ; 
but  she  does  not  recover  her  strength ;  she  is  still  so  much 
altered  that  you  would  scarcely  know  her,  because  her  stomach 
does  not  regain  its  tone,  and  no  food  seems  to  nourish  her ; 
this  arises  from  the  bad  state  of  her  liver,  of  which  you  know 
she  has  long  complained.  It  is  so  serious  an  evil  that  I  am  real- 
ly alarmed  at  it.     Remedies  might  be  used  for  her  liver,  but 

HER    SON    THE    MARQUIS.  335 

they  are  unfavorable  to  the  loss  of  blood,  which  we  are  in  con- 
tinual apprehension  may  return,  and  which  has  produced  a  bad 
effect  upon  the  afflicted  part.  These  two  maladies,  which  re- 
quire opposite  medicines,  reduce  her  to  a  truly  pitiable  situa- 
tion. Time,  we  hope,  will  repair  this  devastation  ;  I  sincerely 
wish  it ;  and  if  we  enjoy  this  blessing,  we  shall  go  to  Paris 
with  all  expedition.  This  is  the  point  to  which  we  are  arrived, 
and  which  must  be  cleared  up ;  I  will  be  very  faithful  in  my 

This  languor  makes  us  say  little  yet  of  the  return  of  the 
warriors.  I  do  not  doubt,  however,  that  the  business  will  be 
concluded  ;  it  is  too  far  advanced  :  but  it  will  be  without  any 
great  joy ;  and  even  if  we  go  to  Paris,  they  would  set  out  two 
days  after,  to  avoid  the  air  of  a  wedding,  and  visits,  which  they 
wish  not  to  receive ;  a  burnt  child,  etc. 

As  to  M.  de  St.  Amant's  grief,  of  which  such  a  parade  has 
been  made  at  Paris,  it  was  founded  upon  my  daughter's  hav- 
ing really  proved  by  memorandums,  which  she  has  showed  to 
us  all,  that  she  had  paid  her  son  nine  thousand  francs  out  of 
ten  she  had  promised  him ;  and  having  in  consequence  sent 
him  only  a  thousand,  M.  de  St.  Amant  said  he  was  cheated, 
that  they  wanted  to  take  advantage  of  him,  and  that  he  would 
give  no  more,  having  already  given  the  fifteen  thousand  francs 
of  his  daughter's  portion  (which  he  laid  out  at  Paris  in  stock, 
and  for  which  he  has  the  estates  that  were  given  up  to  him 
here,)  and  that  the  marquis  must  seek  for  assistance  in  that 
quarter.  You  may  suppose  that  when  that  quarter  has  paid, 
it  may  occasion  some  little  chagrin ;  but  it  is  at  an  end.  M. 
de  St.  Amant  thought  in  himself  that  it  would  not  be  advisa- 
ble to  quarrel  with  my  daughter ;  so  he  came  here  as  gentle  as 
a  lamb,  wishing  for  nothing  but  to  please  and  to  take  his  daugh- 
ter back  with  him  to  Paris ;  which  he  has  done,  though,  in 
good  truth,  she  ought  to  have  waited  for  us ;  but  the  advan- 
tage of  being  in  the  same  house  with  her  husband,  in  that 
beautiful  mansion  of  M.  de  St.  Amant ;  of  being  handsomely 
lodged,   and   living  sumptuously  at  no  expense ;  made   my 

336  LETTERS    TO 

daughter  consent  without  hesitation  to  accept  all  these  com- 
forts. But  we  did  not  see  her  depart  without  tears,  for  she  is 
very  amiable  ;  and  was  so  much  affected  at  bidding  us  adieu, 
that  it  could  scarcely  have  been  supposed  she  was  going  to 
lead  a  life  of  pleasure  in  the  midst  of  plenty.  She  had  become 
very  fond  of  our  society.  She  set  out  with  her  father  on  the 
first  of  this  month. 

Be  assured,  my  son,  that  no  Grignan  intends  you  harm ; 
that  you  are  beloved  by  all ;  and  that  if  this  trifle  had  been  a 
serious  thing,  they  would  have  felt  that  you  would  have  taken 
as  much  interest  in  it  as  you  have  done. 

M.  de  Grignan  is  still  at  Versailles  ;  we  expect  him  shortly, 
for  the  sea  is  clear,  and  Admiral  Russel,  who  is  no  longer  to 
be  seen,  will  give  him  leave  to  come  here. 

I  shall  seek  for  the  two  little  writings  you  mention.  I  rely 
much  upon  your  taste.  The  letters  to  M.  de  la  Trape  are 
books  we  can  not  send,  though  in  manuscript.  You  shall 
read  them  at  Paris,  where  I  still  hope  to  see  you,  for  I  love 
you  in  a  much  greater  degree  than  you  can  love  me.  It  is 
the  order  of  nature,  and  I  do  not  complain. 

I  inclose  you  a  letter  from  Madame  de  Chaulnes,  which  I 
send  to  you  entire,  from  confidence  in  your  prudence.  You 
will  justify  yourself  in  things  to  which  you  well  know  what 
answer  to  make,  and  will  pay  no  attention  to  those  that  may 
offend  you.  I  have  said  for  myself  all  I  had  to  say,  waiting 
for  your  answer  respecting  what  I  did  not  know ;  and  I  added 
that  I  would  inform  you  of  what  the  duchess  told  me.  Write 
to  her,  therefore,  candidly,  as  having  learned  from  me  what 
she  writes  respecting  you.  After  all,  you  should  preserve  this 
connection ;  they  love  you,  and  have  rendered  you  service ; 
you  must  not  wound  gratitude.  I  have  said  that  you  owed 
obligations  to  the  intendant.  But  to  you,  my  child,  I  say,  is 
this  friendship  incompatible  with  your  ancient  leagues  with 
the  first  president  and  the  attorney-general  ?  Is  it  necessary 
that  you  should  break  with  your  old  friends  for  the  sake  of  se- 
curing an  intendant !     M.  de  Pommereuil  did  not  exact  such 



conduct.  I  have  also  said  that  you  ought  to  be  heard,  aud 
that  it  was  impossible  you  should  have  neglected  to  congratu- 
late the  attorney-general  upon  the  marriage  of  his  daughter. 
In  short,  my  child,  defend  yourself,  and  tell  me  what  you  say, 

that  I  may  second  you. 



FROM   16TO   TO   1696. 


Paris,  "Wednesday,  23d  June,  1670. 
You  have  written  me  the  most  charming*  letter  in  the 
world.  I  should  have  answered  it  much  sooner,  had  I  not 
known  that  you  were  traversing  your  province.  I  should 
likewise  have  sent  you  the  music  you  desired,  but  have  not  yet 
been  able  to- procure  it :  in  the  mean  time  let  me  tell  you  that 
I  love  you  most  affectionately,  and  if  that  is  capable  of  giving 
you  the  satisfaction  you  assure  me  it  does,  you  ought  to  be 
the  most  contented  man  in  the  world.  You  must  certainly  be 
so  in  the  correspondence  you  carry  on  with  my  daughter ;  it 
appears  to  me  very  animated  on  her  part,  and  I  do  not  think 
any  one  can  love  another  more  than  she  does  you.     I  hope  to 

*  Count  de  Grignan  was  of  an  ancient  and  noble  Provencal  family. 
He  was  rich,  and  held  a  high  office,  that  of  Lieutenant-General  of  the 
Government  of  Provence ;  and  as  the  governor,  Yendome,  was  rarely 
in  his  place,  M.  de  Grignan  was  virtually  the  governor.  He  had  been 
twice  married  before  his  union  with  Madame  de  Sevigne's  daughter, 
and  it  seems  likely,  considering  the  fashion  of  those  times,  and  indeed 
of  French  marriages  now,  the  mother  was  influenced  by  ambition.  She 
found  it  did  not  confer  happiness.  The  count  was  extravagant  and 
fond  of  play,  though  he  seems  to  have  been  a  kind  husband ;  still  it 
is  evident  that  Madame  de  Sevigne  was  constrained  in  her  letters  to 
him.  She  compliments  him,  professes  much  affection,  and  was  always 
on  friendly  terms  with  him,  because  he  was  the  husband  of  her  darling 
daughter.    But  her  letters  to  him  never  go  beyond  this 

LETTERS    TO     COUNT    DE     GRIGNAN.  339 

return  her  to  you  safe  and  sound,  with  a  little  one  the  same, 
or  I  will  burn  my  books.     I  am  not  very  skillful  indeed  my 
self ;  but  I  can  ask  advice,  and  follow  it,  and  my  daughter  od 
her  side  takes  all  possible  care  of  herself. 


Paris,  Wednesday,  Aug.  6,  1670. 
Is  it  not  true  that  I  have  given  you  the  prettiest  wife  in  the 
world  ?  and  can  any  one  be  more  prudent,  more  regular  in 
her  conduct  ?  Can  any  one  love  you  more,  have  more  Chris- 
tian sentiments,  long  more  ardently  to  be  with  you,  or  attend 
more  strictly  to  the  duties  of  her  station  ?  It  is  ridiculous 
enough  to  say  all  this  of  my  own  daughter ;  but  I  admire  her 
as  other  people  do,  and  perhaps  more,  as  I  am  more  an  eye- 
witness of  her  behavior  ;  and  to  own  the  truth  to  you,  what- 
ever good  opinion  I  had  of  her  as  to  the  principal  points,  I 
never  thought  she  would  have  been  so  exact  as  she  is  in  all 
the  minuter  ones.  I  assure  you,  every  body  does  her  justice, 
and  she  loses  none  of  the  praises  which  are  so  much  her  due. 


Paris,  Friday,  August  15,  1670. 

When  I  write  to  you  so  frequently,  you  must  remember 
that  it  is  on  condition  that  you  do  not  answer  me.  Relying 
on  this,  I  shall  proceed  to  tell  you  that  I  am  heartily  rejoiced 
at  the  many  honors  that  are  conferred  on  you.  It  appears  to 
me  that  the  commandant  has  less  share  in  them  than  M.  de 
Grignan  himself ;  and  I  think  I  see  a  partiality  for  you  that 
another  would  not  experience. 

I  find  there  is  so  brisk  a  correspondence  kept  up  between  a 
certain  lady  and  you,  that  it  would  be  ridiculous  to  give  you 
any  news.     I  have  not  so  much  as  a  hope  of  acquainting  you 

340  LETTERS    TO 

that  she  loves  you  :  her  every  action,  her  whole  conduct,  with 
all  her  little  anxieties  and  cares  about  you,  tell  it  plain  enough. 
I  am  very  delicate  in  the  point  of  friendship,  and  pretend  to 
know  something  about  it,  and  I  own  to  you  that  I  am  per- 
fectly satisfied  with  what  I  see,  and  could  not  wish  it  to  be 
greater.  Enjoy  this  pleasure  to  the  utmost,  and  never  be  un- 
grateful. If  there  is  any  little  vacant  place  in  your  heart, 
allow  me  the  pleasure  of  occupying  it ;  for,  I  assure  you,  you 
hold  a  very  considerable  one  in  mine. 


Paris,  "Wednesday,  December  10,  16*70. 
Madame  de  Coulanges  has  told  me  several  times  that  you 
love  me  sincerely,  that  you  talk  of  me,  that  you  wish  me 
with  you.  As  I  made  the  first  advances  toward  this  friend- 
ship, and  loved  first,  you  may  judge  how  happy  I  am  to  find 
that  you  return  the  partiality  I  have  so  long  had  for  you. 
All  that  you  write  of  your  daughter  is  admirable,  and  I  had 
no  doubt  that  the  good  health  of  the  mother  would  comfort 
you  for  your  disappointment.  The  joy  I  should  have  had  in 
acquainting  you  with  the  birth  of  a  son  would  have  been  too 
great — it  would  have  been  showering  too  many  blessings  at 
once  ;  and  the  pleasure  I  naturally  take  in  being  the  messen- 
ger of  good  news,  would  have  been  carried  to  excess.  I  shall 
soon  be  in  the  same  condition  you  saw  me  in  last  year.  I 
must  love  you  extremely  to  send  my  daughter  to  you  at  this 
inclement  season  of  the  year.  How  foolish  it  is  to  leave  a 
good  mother,  with  whom  you  assure  me  she  is  very  well  sat- 
isfied, to  run  after  a  man  at  the  furthest  end  of  France !  T 
give  you  my  word,  nothing  can  be  more  indecorous  than  such 
behavior.  I  do  believe  you  were  greatly  concerned  at  the 
death  of  the  amiable  duchess.  I  was  so  afflicted  myself  that 
I  stood  in  need  of  comfort  while  I  was  writing  to  you  about 

COUNT    D£     GRIGNAN.  341 

My  daughter  desires  me  to  acquaint  you  with  the  marriage 
of  Monsieur  de  Nevers;*  that  Monsieur  de  Nevers  who  was 
so  difficult  to  be  caught,  who  used  to  slip  so  unexpectedly 
through  the  hands  of  the  fair,  is  at  length  going  to  wed. 
And  whom  think  you  ?  Not  Mademoiselle  de  Houdancourt, 
nor  yet  Mademoiselle  de  Grancei,  but  the  young,  the  hand- 
some, the  modest  Mademoiselle  de  Thianges,f  who  was 
brought  up  at  the  Abbaye  aux  Bois.  Madame  de  MontespanJ 
has  the  wedding  solemnized  at  her  house  next  Sunday ;  she 
acts  as  mother  on  the  occasion,  and  receives  the  honors  as 
such.  The  king  restored  Monsieur  de  Nevers  to  all  his  posts, 
so  that  this  belle,  though  she  does  not  bring  him  a  penny  of 
fortune,  will  be  worth  more  to  him  than  the  richest  heiress  in 
France.     Madame  de  Montespan  does  wonders  in  every  thing. 

I  forbid  you  to  write  to  me.  Write  to  my  daughter,  and 
leave  me  to  the  freedom  of  writing  to  you,  without  embarking 
you  in  a  train  of  answers  which  would  rob  me  of  the  pleasure 
I  have  in  acquainting  you  with  every  little  trifle.  Continue 
to  love  me,  my  dear  count.  I  dispense  with  your  honoring 
my  motherly  dignity,  but  you  must  love  me,  and  assure  your- 
self that  there  is  not  a  place  in  the  world  where  you  are  so 
dearly  beloved  as  you  are  here. 


Paris,  Friday,  January  16,  1671. 

Alas  !  the  poor  dear  child  is  still  with  me,  for  it  was  utterly 

impossible  for  her,  do  what  she  would,  to  have  set  out  the 

10th  of  this  month,  as  she  all  along  hoped  and  intended  to 

do.     The  rains  have  been,  and  are  still,  so  very  violent  that  it 

*  Philip  Julian  Mazarini  Mancini,  Duke  of  Nevers. 

f  Diana  Gabriel  de  Damas,  daughter  of  Claud  Leonor,  Marquis  de 
Thianges,  and  Gabriel  de  Rochechouart  Morteniar,  sister  to  Madaire 
de  Montespan. 

%  Then  mistress  to  Louis  XIV. 

342  LETTERS     TO 

would  have  been  downright  folly  to  have  attempted  it.  The 
rivers  are  overflowed,  the  roads  are  all  under  water,  and  the 
carriage-tracks  so  covered  that  she  would  have  run  the  risk 
of  being  overturned  in  every  ford.  In  short,  things  are  in 
such  a  state  that  Madame  de  Rochefort,  who  is  at  her  coun- 
try-seat, and  is  absolutely  wild  to  be  in  Paris,  where  she  is 
expected  with  the  greatest  impatience  by  her  husband  and 
mother,  does  not  dare  to  venture  till  the  roads  are  a  little 
safer.  Indeed,  the  winter  is  perfectly  dreadful.  We  have 
not  had  an  hour's  frost,  but  there  has  been  a  continual  deluge 
of  rain  every  day.  Not  a  boat  can  pass  under  any  of  the 
bridges  ;  the  arches  of  the  Pont  Neuf  are  in  a  manner  choked 
up.  In  short,  it  is  something  more  than  common.  I  own 
to  you,  that  seeing  the  season  so  very  inclement,  I  warmly 
opposed  her  setting  out.  I  would  not  stop  her  for  the  cold, 
the  dirt,  or  the  fatigues  of  the  journey,  but  methinks  I  would 
not  have  her  drowned.  Yet,  strong  as  the  reasons  are  for 
her  stay,  nothing  could  have  prevailed  on  her  had  not  the  co- 
adjutor, who  is  to  go  with  her,  been  engaged  to  perform  the 
marriage  ceremony  of  his  cousin  De  Harcourt,*  which  is  to 
be  solemnized  at  the  Louvre.  Monsieur  de  Leonne  is  to  stand 
proxy.  The  king  has  spoken  to  the  coadjutor  upon  this  sub- 
ject, but  the  affair  has  been  put  off  day  after  day,  and  may 
not  be  finished  this  week.  My  poor  daughter  is  -in  such  ex- 
treme impatience  to  be  gone  that  the  time  she  now  passes 
with  us  can  not  be  called  living ;  and  if  the  coadjutor  does 
not  disengage  himself  from  this  same  wedding,  I  think  I  see 
her  ready  to  commit  an  act  of  folly  by  setting  out  without 
him.  It  would  be  so  extraordinary  to  go  by  herself,  and  so 
happy  on  the  contrary  to  have  a  brother-in-law  to  accompany 
her,  that  I  shall  do  all  in  my  power  to  prevent  their  separa- 
tion. In  the  mean  time  the  waters  may  be  a  little  drained  off. 
But  I  can  assure  you  that  I  have  no  sort  of  pleasure  in  her 

*  Mary  Angelica  Henrietta  of  Lorraine,-  married  the  7th  February, 
1671,  to  Nugno  Alvares  Pereira  de  Mello,  Duke  of  Cadaval  in  Por- 

COUNT    DE     GRIGNAN.  343 

company.     I  know  that  she  must  leave  us.     All  that  passes 
now  is  mere  ceremony  and  preparation.     We  make  no  par- 
ties, we  take  no  amusement ;  our  hearts  are  heavy,  and  we 
talk  of  nothing  but  rains,  bad  roads,  and  dreadful  stories  ot 
persons  who  have  lost  their  lives  in  attempting  to  pass  them. 


The  Rocks,  Sunday,  August  9,  1671. 
You  alone,  my  dear  count,  could  have  prevailed  on  me  to 
give  my  daughter  to  a  Provencal ;  this  is  truth,  as  Caderousse 
and  Merrinville  will  witness  for  me ;  for  if  I  had  liked  the  lat- 
ter as  well  as  you,  I  should  not  have  found  so  many  expedients  to 
prevent  a  conclusion,  and  she  had  been  his.  Do  not  entertain 
the  least  doubt  of  my  having  the  highest  opinion  of  you ;  a 
moment's  reflection  will  convince  you  I  am  sincere.  I  am  not 
at  all  surprised  that  my  daughter  does  not  mention  me  to  you ; 
she  served  me  just  the  same  by  you  last  year  ;  believe,  there- 
fore, whether  she  tells  you  so  or  not,  that  I  never  forget  you, 
I  think  I  hear  her  scold,  and  say,  "Ah !  this  is  a  pretense  of 
yours  to  excuse  your  own  laziness."  I  shall  leave  you  to  dis- 
pute this  among  yourselves,  and  assure  you  that,  though  you 
are  perhaps  the  most  happily  formed  for  general  love  and  es- 
teem of  any  man  in  the  world,  yet  you  never  were,  and  never 
will  be,  more  sincerely  loved  by  any  one  than  by  me.  I  wish 
for  you  every  day  in  my  mall ;  but  you  are  proud ;  I  see  that 
you  expect  me  to  visit  you  first ;  you  may  think  yourself  very 
happy  that  I  am  not  an  old  woman,  but  am  resolved  to  enjoy 
the  remains  of  life  and  health  in  taking  that  journey :  our  abbe 
seems  to  have  as  strong  an  inclination  to  go  there  as  myself; 
that  is  one  good  thing.  Adieu,  my  dear  Grignan,  love  me  al- 
ways ;  treat  me  with  a  sight  of  you,  and  you  shall  see  my 

344  LETTERS    TO 


Paris,  June  20,  1673. 
Come  hither,  my  son-in-law.  So,  then,  you  are  resolved  to 
send  my  daughter  back  to  me  in  the  first  coach ;  you  are  dis- 
pleased with  her,  and  quite  angry  that  she  admires  your  castle, 
and  think  that  she  takes  too  great  a  liberty  in  pretending  to 
reside  there  and  command  in  every  thing.  As  you  say  you 
hate  every  thing  that  is  worthy  of  hatred,  you  certainly  must 
hate  her.  I  enter  into  all  your  displeasure ;  you  could  not 
have  addressed  yourself  to  one  who  feels  the  force  of  it  better 
than  myself.  But  do  you  know,  after  what  you  have  said, 
that  you  make  me  tremble  to  hear  you  talk  of  wishing  me  at 
Grignan,  and  I  am  quite  inconsolable  for  that  reason ;  for 
there  is  nothing  in  futurity  so  dear  to  me  as  the  hope  of  see- 
ing you  there ;  and  whatever  I  may  say,  I  am  persuaded  that 
you  will  be  very  glad  of  it  too,  and  that  you  love  me ;  it  is 
impossible  it  should  be  otherwise  ;  I  love  you  so  well,  that  the 
same  sentiments  must  necessarily  pass  from  me  to  you,  and 
from  you  to  me.  I  commend  the  care  of  my  daughter's 
health  to  you  above  all  earthly  things  ;  watch  over  it,  be  abso- 
lute master  in  all  that  regards  it ;  do  not  behave  as  you  did  at 
the  bridge  of  Avignon ;  keep  your  authority  in  this  one  point, 
and  in  every  thing  else  leave  her  to  her  own  way ;  she  is  more 
skillful  than  you.  Ah,  how  I  pity  you  for  having  lost  the 
pleasure  of  receiving  her  letters !  You  were  much  happier  a 
year  ago  ;  would  to  God  you  had  that  pleasure  now,  and  I  had 
the  mortification  of  seeing  and  embracing  her !  Adieu,  my 
dearest  count,  though  I  believe  you  are  as  much  beloved  as 
any  man  in  the  world,  yet  I  do  not  think  that  any  of  your 
mothers-in-law*  ever  loved  you  so  well  as  I  do. 

*  Madame  de  Sevigne  was  the  third. 

COUNT    DE    GRIGNAN.  34f 


The  Rocks,  July,  16*74. 
You  flatter  me  too  much,  my  dear  count ;  I  shall  accept  of 
but  one  part  of  your  fine  speeches,  and  that  is  the  thanks  you 
return  me  for  having  given  you  a  wife,  that  constitutes  all  youi 
happiness ;  for,  indeed,  I  think  I  contributed  a  little  toward  it : 
but  the  authority  you  have  acquired  over  her  in  Provence,  has 
been  wholly  owing  to  yourself,  to  your  merit,  your  birth,  and 
your  conduct ;  all  this  I  have  nothing  to  do  with.  Ah  !  how 
much  you  lose  by  my  heart  not  being  at  ease !  Le  Camus  is 
delighted  with  me  ;  he  tells  me  I  sing  his  airs  extremely  well : 
he  certainly  composes  divinely ;  but  I  am  so  dull  and  woe- 
begone, that  I  can  learn  nothing.  You  would  sing  them  like 
an  angel ;  I  assure  you  Le  Camus  has  a  high  opinion  both  of 
your  voice  and  judgment.  I  regret  the  loss  of  these  little  ac- 
complishments which  we  are  too  apt  to  neglect.  Why  should 
we  lose  them  ?  I  have  always  said  that  we  ought  not  to  part 
with  them,  and  that  they  can  never  be  an  incumbrance ;  but 
what  is  to  be  done  with  a  rope  round  the  neck  ?  You  have 
given  my  daughter  one  of  the  most  delightful  journeys  in  the 
world ;  she  is  quite  enchanted  with  it ;  but  then  you  have 
dragged  her  over  hills  and  dales,  and  exposed  her  to  the  dan- 
gers of  the  Alps,  and  to  the  uncivil  waves  of  the  Mediter- 
ranean ;  in  short,  I  have  a  month's  mind  to  chide  you  for  it ; 
but  let  me  first  embrace  you  most  affectionately. 


The  Rocks,  November  6,  1675. 
Count,  I  am  delighted  to  hear  that  my  daughter  is  satisfied 
with  you.     Allow  me  to  thank  you  by  reason  of  the  great  in- 
terest I  take  in  your  affairs,  and  which  I  entreat  you  to  pre- 
serve.    You   can   not  fail  of  this  without  ingratitude,  and 


346  LETTERS    TO    COUNT    DE     ORIGNAN. 

without  doing  injustice  to  the  blood  of  the  Adhemars.  I 
have  read,  in  the  Crusades,  of  one  of  these  who  was  an  illus- 
trious personage  six  hundred  years  ago.  He  was  beloved  as 
you  are,  and  would  never  have  given  a  moment's  uneasiness 
to  such  a  wife  as  yours.  His  death  was  lamented  by  an  army 
of  three  hundred  thousand  men,  and  mourned  by  all  the 
princes  in  Christendom.  Not  many  pages  after  I  find  a  cas- 
tellane,  not  altogether  so  ancient ;  he  is,  indeed,  a  mere  mod- 
ern ;  it  was  but  five  hundred  and  twenty  years  since  he  made 
a  great  figure.  I  conjure  you,  therefore,  by  these  two  noble 
ancestors,  who  are  my  particular  friends,  to  be  guided  by 
Madame  de  Grignan,  and  consider  how  much  y  du  will  consult 
your  own  interest  in  doing  so. 


FROM    1681    TO   1682. 


Paris,  Friday,  January  8,  1681. 
I  should  be  very  sorry,  sir,  if  our  correspondence  were  to 
end  with  the  temple  of  Montpellier ;  and  all  you  say  to  this 
effect,  in  doing  the  honors  of  your  letters,  by  supposing  the 
assurance  of  their  continuance  to  contain  a  threat  to  me,  is 
so  ungenerous  that  I  should  be  disposed  to  scold  you ;  nor 
would  the  pretty  turn  you  have  given  to  this  guarantee  you 
from  my  reproaches,  were  it  not  that  the  letter  you  have  writ- 
ten to  my  son  makes  me  eager  to  tell  you  how  much  it  has 
delighted  me.  The  neatness  of  the  beginning  has  reminded 
me  of  our  merry  stories,  and  the  beauty  of  the  verses  has 
made  me  regret  that  you  have  not  continued  them  in  good 
earnest.  If  you  have  done  so,  let  us  share  the  pleasure  of 
reading  them.  The  two  Latin  verses  you  explain  are  very 
just.  In  short,  we  esteem  your  verse,  your  prose,  and  all 
your  productions.     My  son  is  still  your  adorer  ;  my  daughter 

*  M.  de  Moulceau  was  President  of  the  Chamber  of  Accounts  of 
Montpellier.  It  appears  that  Madame  de  Sevigne,  at  the  time  of  her 
journey  into  Provence,  had  found  him  on  terms  of  strict  friendship 
with  M.  and  Madame  de  Grignan,  and  M.  de  Vardes  and  Corbinelli, 
and  that  she  was  so  sensible  of  his  worth  and  the  charms  of  his  mind 
as  to  enter  into  a  correspondence  with  him.  But  we  remark  with  as- 
tonishment that  no  mention  is  made  of  this  interesting  man  in  any  of 
the  preceding  letters. 

348  LETTERS    TO 

admires  and  esteems  you  in  the  highest  degree.  I  presume 
you  know  my  own  sentiments  for  you,  and  that  you  see 
plainly  there  is  not  a  family  in  the  world  who  so  justly  ap- 
preciates your  merit.  You  do  the  same  in  regard  to  M.  de 
Caicasonne,  hy  praising  him  as  you  do.  The  poor  chevalier 
has  been  here  for  these  six  weeks,  laid  up  with  the  rheuma- 
tism. He  receives  visits  from  persons  almost  as  lame  as 
himself.  Those  who  are  left-handed  show  at  least  that  their 
taste  is  right.  You  have  returned  M.  de  Noailles  to  us  in  a 
very  ill  state  of  health.  He  has  so  violent  a  diarrhoea  that 
it  seems  as  if  he  had  eaten  to  his  own  share  all  that  he  has 
expended  at  Montpellier ;  in  short,  he  has  heen  obliged  to  re- 
sign the  staff,  the  staff  that  was  the  object  of  his  love,  the 
staff  he  went  so  far  to  assume,  the  staff  which  was  the  re- 
ward of  all  his  other  services.  It  is  natural  to  suppose  that 
he  must  be  very  ill,  when  he  gives  it  himself  to  M.  de  Lux- 
embourg. You  say  much  in  his  favor  when  you  speak  of 
the  distinction  and  expansion  of  heart  he  showed  you.  I  wish 
his  generosity  had  gone  so  far  as  to  have  induced  him  to  re- 
turn our  mortified  friend's  visit.*  Have  I  not  heard  you  say 
that  we  ought  to  respect  the  unfortunate  ?  It  can  not  be 
doubted  that  this  has  increased  the  mortification.  I  pity 
him  for  having  suffered  this  feeling  to  take  possession  of 

*  Anne  Jules,  Duke  de  Noailles,  had  been  nominated  to  the  com- 
mand in  Languedoc,  of  which  the  Duke  du  Maine,  then  too  young  to 
take  it  upon  himself,  had  just  been  appointed  governor.  Preparations 
were  making  for  the  destruction  of  Calvinism.  In  conjunction  with 
the  intendant  d'Aguesseau,  father  of  the  celebrated  chancellor,  Noail- 
les endeavored  for  a  long  time  to  engage  the  court  to  employ  mild 
measures  ;  and  even  in  the  execution  of  the  most  rigorous  he  at  first 
showed  some  humanity ;  but  he  afterward  became  one  of  the  most 
violent  persecutors,  and  his  dispatches,  concerted  with  Louvois,  did 
not  fail  to  excite  the  king  to  rigors  of  which  he  too  late  repented. 

It  appears  that  he  thought  he  could  not,  with  propriety,  in  the  sit- 
uation he  held,  return  the  visit  of  M.  de  Yardes,  then  an  exile,  and 
whom  Madame  de  Sevigne  designates  by  the  title  of  the  mortified 


him,  and  to  have  surmounted  even  his  Christian  philosophy ; 
but  I  pity  him  still  more  if  your  heart  be  yet  closed  against 
him.  A  friend  like  you  would  be  a  true  consolation  in  all 
his  afflictions.  Our  friend  (Corbinelli)  is  entirely  occupied 
here  with  his  affairs.  He  does  wonders.  He  is  become  the 
best  lawyer  in  Paris ;  and  this  qualification  came  to  him  un- 
expectedly along  with  his  peruke  and  brandenbourg,  so  that 
we  should  much  sooner  have  taken  him  for  a  captain  of  cav- 
alry than  a  man  of  business.  It  is  thus  the  exterior  often 
deceives  us.  If  M.  de  Vardes  had  not  thrown  him  into 
this  employment,  his  gratitude  and  inclination  would  lead 
him  straight  to  you.  His  heart  is  still  perfect  in  all  the 
moral  virtues.  They  will  become  Christian  virtues  when  it 
shall  please  Providence,  whom  we  still  adore,  and  who  seems 
to  treat  you  well,  by  the  sentiments  it  inspires  you  with. 
Adieu,  my  dear  sir.  We  should  have  many  things  to  say  to 
each  other  if  we  met.  Who  knows  that  some  day  or  other 
we  may  not  ?  Our  friend  writes  to  you  separately ;  so  much 
the  worse  for  him  :  he  will  not  know  that  I  have  the  pleasure 
of  assuring  you  here  of  my  sincere  and  faithful  friendship. 


Paris,  April  17,  1682. 
If  you  are  alarmed  at  the  appearance  of  my  neglect,  be  as- 
sured, sir,  it  is  a  false  alarm,  and  that  appearances  are  deceitful ; 
you  do  not  suffer  yourself  to  be  forgotten ;  Rochecourbieres, 
Livri,  and  the  days  in  which  we  have  seen  you,  are  faithful 
guarantees  of  what  I  say  ;  and  I  am  certain  you  believe  it,  and 
that,  being  so  well  informed  on  every  other  subject,  Christian 
humility  does  not  prevent  you  from  knowing  your  own  worth. 
It  is  a  truth,  therefore ;  you  can  not  be  forgotten.  Our  friend 
and  I  have  said  a  thousand  times,  "  Let  us  write  to  this  poor 
reprobate  ;  but  by  continually  delaying  it,  we  have  embarrassed 
ourselves  by  our  miserable  security.  It  seems  to  me  as  if 
Montpellier  has  given  a  great  deal  to  the  jubilee.    You  know 

350  LETTERS    TO 

what  a  horror  Corbinelli  has  of  this  sort  of  parade,  which  he 
calls  hypocrisy.  I  do  not  know  exactly  how  he  has  acted 
upon  the  occasion,  and  I  have  not  dared  question  him ;  but, 
considering  the  extreme  respect  he  has  for  this  holy  mystery, 
and  how  rigorously  he  enters  into  the  preparations  for  it, 
of  which  he  will  not  abate  a  single  iota,  I  have  long  been 
tempted  to  say  to  him,  basta  la  meta  (the  half  is  sufficient) ; 
for,  in  fact,  if  all  the  faithful  were  to  follow  his  ideas  upon  the 
subject,  the  ceremonials  of  religion  would  be  done  away.  This 
is  the  inspiration  of  God,  and  whether  it  be  light  or  derelic- 
tion, some  great  change  must  happen  to  alter  his  opinion. 
M.  de  Vardes  has  put  the  same  question  to  him,  that  you  put 
to  me  on  his  jubilee  ;  he  has  answered  very  honestly,  and  has 
given  him  a  probet  autem  semetipsum  homo,  which  may  occa- 
sion great  reflections.  This  is  all  I  can  tell  you ;  you  know 
and  love  the  soil,  for,  indeed,  the  more  his  heart  is  known,  the 
more  it  must  be  admired.  I  perceive  his  departure  approach, 
and  I  perceive  it  with  sorrow  ;  but  what  may  not  Providence 
reserve  for  M.  de  Vardes  ?  M.  de  Bussy  is  recalled  after  an 
exile  of  eighteen  years ;  he  has  seen  the  king,  who  received 
him  most  graciously :  these  are  times  of  justice  and  clemency ; 
we  not  only  do  what  is  well,  but  what  is  perfectly  well ;  I 
doubt  not,  therefore,  that  this  poor  exile's  turn  will  come,  and 
every  one  else  believes  it  so  firmly  that  if  any  thing  can  do 
him  injury,  it  is  this  general  report.  You  tell  me  the  most 
agreeable  truth  I  can  hear,  in  assuring  me  the  young  people 
will  bring  from  Languedoc  all  the  politeness  which  failed  them 
here*  They  appear  to  me  like  the  Germans  who  are  sent  to 
Angers  to  learn  the  language ;  they  were  Germans  in  man- 
ners, and  if  they  had  not  learned  them  out  of  court,  would 
seem  to  conduct  themselves  ridiculously.  It  is- easy  to  com- 
prehend that,  having  had  so  good  a  master  as  M.  de  Vardes 
for  six  months,  they  must  have  profited  more  than  they  had 
done  during  their  whole  life. 

*  This  refers  to  the  daughter  and  son-in-law  of  M.  de  Vardes  (M.  and 
Madame  de  Rohan),  who  had  spent  six  months  with  him  at  Montpellier. 



Paris,  May  26,  1682. 
Were  you  not  very  much  surprised,  sir,  to  see  M.  de  Vardes 
slip  through  your  fingers,  whom  you  had  held  so  firmly  for 
nineteen  years  ?  This  is  the  time  Providence  had  marked  out 
for  him ;  in  reality,  he  was  no  longer  thought  of,  he  appeared 
forgotten,  and  sacrificed  to  example.  The  king,  who  reflects 
and  arranges  every  thing  in  his  head,  declared  one  morning 
that  M.  de  Vardes  would  be  at  court  in  two  or  three  days ;  he 
said  he  had  written  to  him  by  the  post,  that  he  wished  to  sur- 
prise him,  and  that  for  more  than  six  months  no  one  had 
mentioned  his  name  to  him.  His  majesty  was  gratified  ;  he 
wished  to  create  surprise,  and  every  one  was  surprised ;  never 
did  intelligence  make  so  great  an  impression,  nor  so  great  a 
noise,  as  this.  In  short,  he  arrived  on  Saturday  morning,  with 
a  head  singular  in  its  kind,  and  an  old  justaucorps  a  brevet,* 
such  as  was  worn  in  the  year  1663.  He  set  one  knee  to  the 
ground  in  the  king's  chamber,  M.  de  Chateauneuf  being  the 
only  person  present.  The  king  told  him  that  while  his  heart 
had  been  wounded  he  had  not  recalled  him,  but  that  he  now 
recalled  him  with  a  whole  heart,  and  that  he  was  glad  to  see 
him.  M.  de  Vardes  made  an  admirable  reply,  with  an  air  of 
being  deeply  affected,  and  the  gift  of  tears,  which  God  has 
given  him,  produced  no  ill  effect  upon  this  occasion.  After 
this  first  interview,  the  king  caused  the  dauphin  to  be  called, 
and  presented  him  to  him  as  a  young  courtier.  M.  de  Vardes 
recognized,  and  saluted  him  ;  the  king  said  to  him,  laughing : 
"  Vardes,  this  is  a  blunder ;  you  know  that  no  one  is  saluted 
in  my  presence."  M.  de  Vardes  replied  in  the  same  tone : 
"Sire,  I  have  forgotten  every  thing;  your  majesty  must  par- 

*  This  was  a  blue  great-coat,  embroidered  with  gold  and  silver, 
which  distinguished  the  principal  courtiers:  an  especial  permission 
was  necessary  to  wear  it.  The  fashion  had  passed  when  Yardes  re- 
turned to  court. 


352  LETTERS    TO 

don  even  thirty  blunders."  "Well,  I  will,"  said  the  king; 
"  stop  at  the  twenty-ninth."  The  king  afterward  laughed  at 
his  coat.  M.  de  Vardes  said, "  Sire,  when  a  man  is  so  wretched 
as  to  be  banished  from  your  presence,  he  is  not  only  unfortu- 
nate, but  he  becomes  ridiculous."  All  this  was  said  in  a  tone 
of  perfect  freedom  and  playfulness.  The  courtiers  performed 
wonders.  He  came  one  day  to  Paris,  and  called  upon  me ;  I 
was  just  gone  out  to  call  upon  him,  but  he  found  my  son  and 
daughter  at  home,  and  in  the  evening  I  found  him  at  his  own 
house :  it  was  a  joyful  meeting ;  I  mentioned  our  friend  to 
him.  "  What,  madam  !  my  master !  my  intimate  friend  !  the 
man  in  the  world  to  whom  I  owe  the  greatest  obligations ! 
can  you  doubt  that  I  love  him  with  my  whole  heart  ?"  This 
pleased  me  highly.  He  resides  with  his  daughter  at  Versailles. 
The  court  goes  to-day ;  I  suppose  he  will  return,  to  catch  the 
kino-  again  at  Auxerre,  for  it  appears  to  all  his  friends  that  he 
ought  to  take  this  journey,  in  which  he  will  certainly  pay  his 
court  well,  by  bestowing  the  most  natural  praises  on  three 
little  things — the  troops,  the  fortifications,  and  his  majesty's 
conquests.  Perhaps  out  friend  will  tell  you  all  this,  and  my 
letter  will  be  only  a  miserable  echo ;  but,  at  any  rate,  I  have 
entered  into  the  minutiae,  because  I  should  like,  on  such  an  oc- 
casion, to  be  written  to  in  the  same  style,  and  I  judge  you,  my 
dear  sir,  by  myself;  I  have  often  been  deceived  by  others,  but 
never  by  you.  It  is  said  that  your  worthy  and  generous  friend, 
M.  de  Noailles,  has  rendered  very  important  services  to  M.  de 
Vardes ;  he  is  so  generous  that  it  is  impossible  to  doubt  this. 
M.  de  Calvisson  is  arrived ;  this  must  either  break  off,  or  con- 
clude our  marriage.  In  reality,  I  am  weary  of  this  tedious 
affair,  I  am  not  in  a  humor  to  talk  of  any  thing  but  M.  de 
Vardes.    M.  de  Vardes  forever  ;  he  is  the  Gospel  of  the  day. 



Paris,  July  28, 1682 

You  are  going  to  hear  a  beautiful  and  an  admirable  storj  ; 
pay  great  attention  to  every  circumstance  attending  it.  The 
Prince  de  Conti  having  expressed  himself  dissatisfied  with  the 
Chevalier  de  Lorraine,  because  he  had  said  the  Prince  de  la 
Roche-sur-Yon  was  in  love  with  his  wife,  found  an  opportu- 
nity of  telling  him,  two  days  ago,  in  the  gardens  of  Versailles, 
that  he  would  do  him  the  honor  of  fighting  him,  because  he 
had  offended  him  by  his  conversation,  etc.  The  Chevalier  de 
Lorraine  thanked  him  for  the  honor  he  intended  him,  and 
wished  to  justify  himself  in  what  he  had  said ;  after  which 
the  prince  told  him  that  he  might  have  M.  de  Marsan  for  his 
second,  who,  healing  himself  named,  stepped  forward  and 
accepted  the  office  without  hesitation,  desiring  the  Prince  de 
Conti  to  allow  M.  de  Soissons  to  be  the  other  second,  as  he 
had  long  been  an  enemy  to  their  family.  The  proposal  was 
yielded  to,  the  party  was  formed,  the  place  appointed,  the 
hour  chosen,  and  secrecy  enjoined.  Can  not  you  fancy  your- 
self in  the  times  of  the  late  M.  de  Boutteville  ?  Each  went 
his  way ;  but  the  Chevalier  de  Lorraine  went  straight  to  Mon- 
sieur, to  whom  he  related  the  whole  story,  and  Monsieur  the 
next  moment  confided  it  to  the  king.  You  may  guess  what 
he  said  to  his  son-in-law.  He  talked  to  him  for  more  than 
two  hours  with  more  of  gayety  than  anger,  but  in  a  tone  of 
authority,  which  must  have  caused  great  repentance.  Here 
the  affair  ended.  The  public  thinks  the  Chevalier  de  Lorraine 
ought  to  have  refused  upon  the  spot,  instead  of  consenting 
and  then  betraying  every  thing ;  but  people  of  the  trade 
think  that  a  refusal  would  have  excited  some  angry  words 
from  the  prince,  and  perhaps  some  •  menace  not  very  easy  of 
digestion ;  and  then  to  have  such  a  stigma  cast  upon  him, 
and  from  a  man  who  is  so  much  to  be  dreaded  !  In  this 
way  his  conduct  has  been  approved,  and  the  more  so  because 

354  LETTERS    TO 

his  courage  is  unquestionable.  What  say  you  to  this  affair  ? 
How  does  it  appear  to  you  to  be  handled  ?  Alas !  if  that 
sainted  princess  were  to  descend  from  heaven,  and  to  find  her 
dear  son  troubled  with  such  impetuosity,  do  you  not  think 
she  would  retrace  her  steps  from  grief  and  affliction  ?  You 
will  talk  this  over  with  M.  de  Vardes.  Would  to  God  that 
the  birth  of  a  Duke  of  Burgundy,  which  is  hourly  expected, 
could  restore  him  to  us ! 


June  13, 1684. 
Word  was  sent  me  from  Languedoc  that  I  had  a  law-suit 
pending  there,  that  M.  de  Grignan  was  prosecuted  with  rigor, 
and  that  the  judges  were  strange  people.  I  cursed  them 
heartily,  sir,  and  have  since  found  that  you  are  one  of  the 
principals :  it  is  you,  therefore,  I  have  loaded  with  so  many 
imprecations,  you,  whose  protection  I  have  claimed  to  soften 
the  rigor  and  to  attend  to  the  justice  of  my  cause.  It  is  to  M. 
d'Argouges  I  am  indebted  for  the  information,  that  this  odious 
judge  and  this  highly-esteemed  M.  de  Moulceaurare  one  and  the 
same.  All  the  anger  kindled  against  the  first,  has  disappeared 
at  the  name  of  the  second,  and  the  weapons  have  fallen  from 
my  hand,  like  those  of  Arcabonne,  when  she  recognized  Ama- 
dis.  It  is  to  M.  de  Moulceau  that  I  address  this  quotation 
from  the  opera ;  you  will  suppose,  that,  in  virtue  of  your  title 
of  judge,  I  shall  quote  nothing  but  laws  to  you.  There  is  one 
established  law  in  the  world,  particularly  among  honest  men, 
which  is,  never  to  condemn  unheard :  in  this,  sir,  consists  the 
favor  I  have  to  ask  you.  The  Prince  de  Conti  claims  an 
estate  of  which  we  have  been  in  possession  for  three  hundred 
years.  I  know,  from  M.  de  Corbinelli,  that  three  hundred 
years  is  a  strong  title  ;  we  request  you,  sir,  to  give  us  time  to 
collect  our  proofs,  to  convince  you  of  the  weakness  of  the 
Prince  de  Conti's  claim  and  of  the  solidity  of  ours. 



Paris,  November,  24,  1685. 
I  have  received  no  letter  from  you  for  more  than  fifteen 
months ;  I  know  not  whether  our  enraged  and  jealous  friend* 
has  intercepted  any ;  it  is  not,  however,  like  him  to  do  so  ;  he 
would  be  more  inclined  to  assassinate  you  with  the  little  sword 
you  once  used  so  pleasantly  in  the  garden  of  Rambouillet. 
We  shall  never  forget  your  wisdom,  nor  your  folly ;  and  I 
have  spent  a  year  with  my  son  in  Brittany,  where  we  have 
often  mentioned  you  with  sentiments  with  which  your  merit 
must  impress  all  hearts  that  are  not  unworthy  of  knowing  it. 
We  have  been  twenty  times  on  the  point  of  writing  some 
nonsense  to  you  ;  we  wished  to  assure  you  that  the  scarcity  of 
the  gratification  did  not  prevent  you  from  being  often  in  our 
remembrance,  and  twenty  times  has  the  demon  which  turns 
aside  good  intentions  perverted  the  course  of  this.  At  length, 
sir,  after  having  been  overturned,  drowned,  and  had  a  wound 
in  my  leg,  which  has  not  been  healed  till  within  these  six 
weeks,  I  left  my  son,  and  his  wife,  who  is  very  pretty,  and  ar- 
rived at  Baville,  at  M.  de  Lamoignon's,  on  the  tenth  or  twelfth 
of  September,  where  I  found  my  daughter  and  all  the  Grig- 
nans,  who  received  me  with  joy  and  affection.  To  complete 
my  happiness,  my  daughter  will  not  leave  me  this  winter.  I 
have  found  our  dear  Corbinelli  just  as  I  left  him,  except  a  little 
more  philosophical,  and  dying  every  day  from  some  cause  or 
other  :  his  freedom  excites  my  envy ;  in  changing  his  object 
he  would  become  a  saint ;  he  is,  however,  so  kind  and  char- 
itable to  his  neighbor,  that  I  really  believe  the  grace  of  God 
is  concealed  under  the  name  of  Cartesian.  He  converts  more 
heritics  by  his  good  sense,  and  by  not  irritating  them  by  vain 
disputes,  than  others  by  all  their  controversy.  In  short,  every 
one  now  is  a  missionary,  every  one  thinks  he  has  a  mission, 
and  particularly  the  magistrates  and  governors  of  provinces, 
upheld  by  the  dragoons :  this  is  the  greatest  and  most  noble 

*  A  jest  which  refers  to  Corbinelli. 

356  LETTERS    TO 

action  that  has  ever  been  conceived  or  performed.  Like  us, 
you  have  been  surprised  with  other  news.  What  an  event  is 
the  death  of  the  Prince  de  Conti !  after  having  experienced 
all  the  perils  of  the  Hungarian  war,  he  came  here  to  die  of  a 
disorder  which  he  scarcely  felt !  His  lovely  widow  has  deeply 
bewailed  him :  she  has  an  annuity  of  a  hundred  thousand 
crowns,  and  has  received  from  the  king  so  many  marks  of 
friendship,  and  of  his  natural  affection  for  her,  that  with  such 
assistance  no  one  can  doubt  that  she  will  in  time  be  comforted. 


Livri,  October  25,  1686. 
I  have  received  your  letter,  sir ;  it  presented  itself  to  me  as 
if  you  wished  to  make  me  ashamed  of  my  silence,  and  to  be- 
lieve I  had  been  ill,  for  the  purpose  of  entering  into  conversa- 
tion with  me.  It  reminds  me  of  a  very  pretty  comedy,  in 
which  the  person  who  wishes  to  come  to  an  explanation  with 
the  lady  who  enters,  makes  her  believe  she  called  him,  and 
thus  obtains  a  hearing.  If  you  have  the  same  intention,  sir,  I 
return  you  a  thousand  thanks  ;  and  I  really  can  not  compre- 
hend how,  esteeming  you  as  I  do,  remembering  you  with  so 
much  pleasure,  speaking  of  you  so  readily,  having  so  high  a 
relish  for  your  understanding  and  your  worth,  to  say  no  more 
for  fear  of  exciting  jealousy,  I  can,  with  so  many  things  to 
promote  a  correspondence,  have  left  you  seven  or  eight  months 
without  saying  a  word  to  you.  It  is  iorrible ;  but  what  does 
it  signify?  let  us  remain  in  this  freedom,  since  it  is  not  com- 
patible with  the  sentiments  I  have  just  expressed  for  you.  I 
have  seen  M.  de  la  Trousse ;  we  talked  of  you  the  moment  we 
had  embraced  ;  I  think  him,  by  what  he  told  me,  highly  de- 
serving the  esteem  you  appear  to  entertain  for  him.  The 
stroke  is  at  least  double.  I  found  him  perfectly  acquainted 
with,  and  as  sensible  of  your  worth  as  you  can  possibly  de- 
sire.    He  must  pass  through  this  place  on  his  way  to  La 

LETTERS    TO    PRESIDENT    DE    MOULCEAU.         357 

Trousse  ;  I  shall  show  him  your  letter,  and  I  do  not  think  it 
will  induce  him  to  change  his  opinion.  You  have  now  M.  de 
Noailles  with  you :  you  are  in  such  favor  there  that  I  shall 
rejoice  with  you  on  the  pleasure  you  will  receive  at  seeing  a 
man  whom  you  have  inspired  with  such  lively  sentiments  of 
esteem  for  you.  I  can  easily  imagine  the  confusion  which  the 
derangement  of  the  states  must  have  occasioned  you ;  but  you 
can  not  dispense  with  going  to  Mmes.  I  must  say  a  word  to 
you  respecting  Mademoiselle  de  Grignan.  You  know,  I  pre- 
sume, that  she  has  been  in  the  convent  of  the  Carmelites  for 
eight  months,  and  that  she  took  the  habit  in  form,  with  a  zeal 
too  violent  to  last.  In  the  first  three  months  she  found  herself 
so  reduced,  from  the  severity  of  the  order,  and  her  stomach  so 
injured  by  the  meagerness  of  the  provision,  that  she  was 
obliged  to  eat  meat  by  compulsion.  This  inability  to  comply 
with  the  rules,  even  in  her  noviciate,  induced  her  to  quit  the 
convent ;  but  with  so  true  a  sentiment  of  piety,  of  humiliation 
at  the  delicacy  of  her  health,  and  of  such  perfect  contempt 
for  the  world,  that  the  holy  nuns  have  preserved  an  affection- 
ate friendship  for  her ;  and  she,  who  has  only  changed  the 
habit,  and  not  the  sentiment,  has  no  false  shame,  like  those 
who  grow  weary  of  the  life,  and  is  now  with  us  as  usual,  giv- 
ing us  the  same  edification.  Her  residence  at  Paris  is  fixed 
at  the  Feuillantines,  where  she  will  board  with  several  others ; 
she  will  return  there  at  Martinmas,  when  we  do.  What  at- 
taches her  to  this  house  is  its  vicinity  to  the  Carmelites,  where 
she  goes  almost  daily,  and  whenever  a  certain  princess  is  there. 
She  takes  from  this  holy  convent  all  that  agrees  with  her,  that 
is,  its  devotion  and  conversation,  and  leaves  the  strictness  of 
the  order,  to  which  she  was  by  no  means  equal. 

It  is  thus  God  has  conducted  her  and  gently  repulsed  her 
from  the  high  degree  of  perfection  to  which  she  aspired,  to 
support  her  in  another  a  little  inferior  to  it,  which  can  not  but 
be  good,  since  He  gives  her  grace  to  love  him  alone,  which  is 
all  that  can  be  desired  in  this  world.  But  Providence  has  also 
inspired  her  with  the  most  noble,  just,  and  praiseworthy  thought 

358  LETTERS     TO 

it  was  possible  to  conceive  for  her  family.  She  was  deter- 
mined that  her  return  to  the  world  should  not  deprive  her 
father  of  what  she  wished  to  give  him  by  her  civil  death  :  and 
at  quitting  her  convent,  she  made  him  a  very  handsome  pres- 
ent of  forty  thousand  crowns,  which  he  owed  her ;  that  is, 
twenty  thousand  crowns  principal,  and  the  rest  arrears  and 
sums  borrowed.  This  gift  has  been  duly  estimated,  not  only 
by  those  who  love  M.  de  Grignan,  but  by  those  who  knew  that 
all  her  property  becoming  personal  at  the  age  of  five-and- 
twenty,  if  she  had  not  disposed  of  any  thing  by  will,  would 
go  almost  wholly  to  her  father ;  and  that  M.  de  Grignan  would 
have  eighty  thousand  crowns  to  pay  Mademoiselle  d'Alerac, 
reckoning  the  principal  of  the  jointure  at  forty  thousand. 
This  is  enough  in  conscience  for  us  not  to  pity  the  sister,  and 
to  rejoice  that  the  family  is  relieved  from  this  double  pay- 
ment. I  own  I  have  been  very  much  affected  at  this  season- 
able and  generous  action  ;  and  I  admire  the  goodness  of  her 
disposition,  which  led  her  to  do,  without  affectation,  the  only 
thing  in  the  world  that  could  render  her  dear  to  her  family, 
where  she  is  now  received  and  considered  as  its  benefactress. 
The  understanding  alone  might  have  wrought  this  effect  in 
another,  but  it  is  best  when  produced  only  by  the  heart.  My 
daughter  has  contributed  so  well  to  this  little  maneuvre,  that  she 
has  received  double  pleasure  from  its  success.  The  chevalier 
has  also  done  wonders ;  for  you  may  suppose  it  has  been 
necessary  to  assist,  and  give  a  form  to  these  good  intentions. 
In  short,  all  has  gone  well :  even  Mademoiselle  d'Alerac  has 
entered  into  the  justice  of  the  sentiment.  I  pray  that  God 
may  reward  her  by  a  good  establishment,  of  which  she  still 
conceals  from  us  every  prospect,  so  that  at  present  there  is  no 
appearance  of  any  thing  of  the  kind.  Do  I  not  weary  you, 
sir,  by  this  long  account  ?  you  will  have  an  indigestion  of  the 
Grignans.  To  divert  you,  let  us  talk  a  little  of  poor  Sevigne  : 
I  should  mention  him  with  grief  if  I  could  not  tell  you  that  after 
five  months  of  horrible  suffering  from  medicines  which  worked 
him  to  the  very  bone,  the  poor  child  is  at  length  restored  to 


perfect  health.  He  has  spent  the  whole  of  August  with  me  in 
this  retreat,  which  you  are  now  acquainted  with.  We  were 
alone  with  the  good  abbe,  we  had  everlasting  conversations, 
and  this  long  intercourse  has  renewed  our  acquaintance  with 
each  other,  and  our  acquaintance  renewed  our  friendship.  He 
is  returned  home  with  a  stock  of  Christian  philosophy,  sprink- 
led with  a  grain  of  anchoretism,  and  particularly  with  an  ex- 
treme affection  for  his  wife,  by  whom  he  is  equally  beloved, 
which  makes  him  altogether  the  happiest  man  in  the  world, 
because  he  passes  his  life  agreeably  to  his  own  mind.  We 
have  talked  of  you  twenty  times  with  friendship  and  delight, 
and  twenty  times  have  we  said,  "  Let  us  write  to  him,  I  wish 
it  very  much  ;"  and  when  we  have  been  on  the  point  of  giv- 
ing ourselves  this  pleasure,  a  demon  has  stepped  in  to  distract 
our  attention,  and  turn  aside  our  good  resolutions.  What  is 
to  be  done,  my  dear  sir,  in  misfortunes  like  these  ?  Perhaps 
you  know  the  mortification  of  forming  good  resolutions  with- 
out the  power  of  executing  them.  I  fear  our  dear  jealous 
friend  calculates  upon  spending  the  winter  with  you ;  you  will 
be  very  glad  :  you  will  laugh,  and  I  shall  cry ;  for  I  have  so 
perfect  a  confidence  in  him,  and  so  true  a  friendship  for  him, 
that  I  can  not  lose  the  society  of  such  a  man  without  feeling 
it  painfully  every  moment ;  M.  de  Vardes,  however,  whom  he 
is  delighted  to  follow,  will  restore  him  to  us,  as  he  takes  him 
away  from  us.  I  am  pleased  that  this  attachment  continues  ; 
you  will  act  your  part  well,  and  I  consider  the  pleasure  of  see- 
ing you,  and  of  establishing  himself  again  in  your  heart,  as  a 
happy  circumstance  for  our  friend.  M.  de  Vardes  has  not 
been  sufficiently  particular  in  the  information  you  omitted  to 
tell  me  :  the  surest  way  is  to  write  ourselves,  as  you  see.  I 
do  not  write  to  you  often,  but  you  will  own  when  I  do  that  it 
is  not  for  nothing. 

360  LETTERS    TO 


Paris,  November  26,  1686. 
I  thought,  sir,  that  in  purchasing  an  office,  nothing  was 
necessary  but  to  find  money ;  but  I  see  that  the  manner  of 
giving  and  receiving  it  is  also  to  be  considered.  You  will  soon 
be  quit  of  this  embarrassment,  from  the  desire  you  always  have 
to  contribute  to  your  own  tranquillity.  Good  heavens  !  how 
rational  and  how  worthy  of  you  is  this  disposition,  and  how 
just  too  is  the  choice  of  your  company,  when  we  come  to 
speak  and  point  out  its  excellence  !  If  we  judge  from  appear- 
ances, it  is  very  superior  to  our  parliaments.  I  can  fancy  I 
hear  M.  and  Madame  de  Vernueil  say  a  thousand  kind  things 
to  you,  and  receive  yours  in  return.  When  this  princess  men- 
tions me,  tell  her  it  is  impossible  to  be  more  at  her  service 
than  I  am.  You  have  a  sister  of  Madame  de  la  Troche  with 
you,  who  is  very  amiable  ;  the  eldest  will  place  all  the  atten- 
tions you  pay  her  to  her  own  account.  I  have  presented 
your  compliments  to  the  Chevalier  de  Grignan,  who  has  re- 
ceived them  graciously ;  he  pointed  out  to  the  prince*  the 
silence  and  discretion  of  your  departure ;  nothing  can  ex- 
ceed his  concern  and  zeal  for  your  interest :  but  we  can  an- 
swer for  nothing  when  we  are  left-handed.  What  you  told 
me  the  other  day  of  a  certain  discourse  he  held  with  a  certain 
person,  makes  me  exhort  you  to  preserve  the  noble  tran- 
quility I  have  always  witnessed  in  you,  on  the  success  of  this 
affair.  We  only  returned  from  Livri  yesterday ;  the  beauty 
of  the  weather,  and  the  health  of  my  daughter,  which  has 
been  nearly  established  there,  made  us  stay  out  of  grati- 
tude. In  the  two  months  we  have  been  there,  we  have  not 
been  able  to  prevail  on  our  friend  to  give  us  his  company  for 

*  The  Prince  de  Conti.  It  has  been  seen  in  the  letter  of  June  13, 
1684,  that  M.  de  Moulceau  was  judge  in  a  law-suit  in  which  M.  de 
Grignan  was  engaged  with  this  prince,  and  that  he  was  moreover  at- 
tached to  him  for  other  reasons. 


more  than  ten  days.  He  has  a  thousand  little  affairs  there, 
to  which  he  is  accustomed :  I  know  nothing  of  his  intentions 
with  respect  to  his  departure,  I  almost  doubt  whether  the 
society  he  meets  at  M.  de  Vardes7  will  not  prevent  him  from 
setting  out  soon.  I  assure  you  I  shall  reap  the  advantage  of 
his  inclination  to  do  so  with  pleasure,  but  I  only  contribute 
toward  it  by  my  wishes.  Pray  inform  us  how  M.  de  Vardes 
finds  himself  in  the  midst  of  this  troop  of  Bohemians ;  I  can 
not  get  this  vision  out  of  my  eyes.  We  shall  have  a  thous- 
and things  to  tell  you  of  the  son-in-law  ;*  in  short,  it  struck 
us  the  other  day  that  if  Homer  had  been  acquainted  with 
him,  he  would  have  chosen  him  in  point  of  anger  for  his 
Achilles.     We  have  a  new  prince  and  a  new  princess  here. 


Paris,  December  15,  1686. 
I  wrote  you  a  long  letter,  sir,  more  than  a  month  ago, 
full  of  friendship,  secrets,  and  confidence.  I  know  not  what 
became  of  it ;  it  lost  its  way,  perhaps,  in  seeking  for  you  at 
the  States,  since  you  have  not  answered  it :  but  this  will  not 
prevent  me  from  telling  you  a  melancholy,  and  at  the  same 
time  a  pleasing,  piece  of  intelligence  :  the  death  of  the  prince, 
which  happened  the  day  before  yesterday,  the  11th  instant,  at 
a  quarter  after  seven  in  the  evening,  and  the  return  of  the 
Prince  de  Conti  to  court,  through  the  kindness  of  the  prince, 
who  asked  this  favor  of  the  king  in  his  last  moments.  The 
king  immediately  granted  it,  and  the  prince  had  this  conso- 
lation on  his  death-bed  ;  but  never  was  joy  drowned  in  so 
many  tears.  The  Prince  de  Conti  is  inconsolable  at  the  loss 
he  has  sustained.  It  could  not  be  greater,  particularly  as  he 
passed  the  whole  time  of  his  disgrace  at  Chantilly,  where  he 
made  an  admirable  use  of  the  understanding  and  abilities  of 

*  M.  de  Rohan,  who  had  married  the  daughter  of  the  Count  de 


362  LETTERS     TO 

the  prince,  and  drew  from  the  fountain-head  all  that  was  to 
be  acquired  from  so  great  a  master,  by  whom  he  was  ten- 
derly beloved.     The  prince  flew,  with  a  speed  that  has  cost 
him  his  life,  from  Chantilly  to  Fontainebleau,  where  Madame 
de  Bourbon  was  seized  with  the  small-pox,  in  order  to  pre- 
vent the  duke,  who  had  not  had  the  disorder,  from  nursing 
her  and  being  with  her ;  for  the  duchess,  who  has  always 
nursed  her,  would  have  been  sufficient  to  satisfy  him  of  the 
care  that  was  taken  of  her  health.     He  was  very  ill,  and  at 
length  died  of  an  oppression  with  which  he  was  seized,  which 
made  him  say,  as  he  was  on  the  point  of  returning  to  Paris, 
that  he  should  take  a  much  longer  journey.     He  sent  for  his 
confessor,  Father  Deschamps,  and,  after  lying  in  a  state  of 
insensibility  for  twenty-four  hours,  and  receiving  all  the  sacra- 
ments, he  died,  regretted  and  bitterly  lamented  by  his  family 
and  his  friends.     The  king  was  much  afflicted  at  the  event, 
and,  in  short,  the  grief  of  losing  so  great  a  man  and  so  great 
a  hero,  whose  place  whole  ages  will  not  be  able  to  supply, 
has  been  felt  by  all  ranks.     A  singular  circumstance  hap- 
pened three  weeks  ago,  a  little  before  the  departure  of  the 
prince   for  Fontainebleau.     Vernillon,  one  of  his  gentlemen, 
returning  from  the  chase  at  three  o'clock,  saw,  as  he  ap- 
proached the  castle,  at  one  of  the  windows  of  the  armory,  an 
apparition :  that  is,  a  man  who  had  been  dead  and  buried. 
He  dismounted,  and  came  nearer ;  he  still  saw  it.     His  valet, 
who  was  with  him,  said,  "  I  see  the  same,  sir,  that  you  see." 
Vernillon  had  been  silent,  that  his  valet  might  speak  of  his 
own  accord.     They  entered  the  castle  together,  and  desired 
the  keeper  to  give  them  the  key  of  the  armory.     The  keeper 
went  with  them ;  they  found  all  the  windows  closed,  and  a 
silence  which  had  been  undisturbed  for  more  than  six  months. 
This  was  told  to  the  prince  :  he  appeared  struck  with  it  at 
first,  and  afterward  laughed  at  it.     Every  one  heard  the  story 
and  trembled  for  the  prince.     You  see  what  the  event  has 



Paris,  Monday,  April  29,  1687. 
So  you  like  my  letters,  sir.  I  am  delighted  that  you  do  ; 
this  is  one  which  will  be  worth  a  hundred.  My  robust 
health  was  slightly  attacked,  about  a  month  ago,  by  a  little 
colic,  a  little  rheumatism,  a  little  vexation ;  consequently, 
all  this  might  excuse  me  from  writing  to  you ;  but  I  had 
rather  die  than  another  should  tell  you  that  the  Prince  de 
Conti  is  at  length  returned  to  court.  He  is  this  night  at 
Versailles,  and  the  king,  like  a  kind  father,  has  restored  him 
to  favor,  after  having  exiled  him  for  a  while,  to  leave  him  at 
leisure  to  make  his  own  reflections.  No  doubt  he  has  done 
so,  and  the  court  will  be  very  gay  and  splendid  on  the  occa- 
sion. His  majesty  will  make  several  chevaliers  at  Whitsun- 
tide, but  it  will  be  only  a  family  promotion  :  M.  de  Chartres, 
the  Duke  de  Bourbon,  the  Prince  de  Conti,  and  M.  du  Maine, 
but  no  one  else :  all  the  other  candidates  must  be  pleased  to 
have  patience ;  but  they  will  not  see  without  mortification 
the  adjournment  of  their  hopes.  The  Duke  de  Vieuville  is 
governor  to  the  Duke  de  Chartres.  Madame  de  Polignac, 
who  is  not  Mademoiselle  d'Alerac,  paid  a  visit  yesterday  to 
Madame  de  Grignan.  She  was  brilliant,  lively,  elated  with 
the  grandeur  of  the  house  of  Polignac,  fond  of  talking  of  the 
name,  and  all  the  personages  belonging  to  it.  She  has  ta- 
ken upon  herself  the  fortune  of  the  two  brothers,  and  has 
supported,  generously  and  courageously,  the  frown  and 
disapprobation  of  the  king.  She  has  employed  skillful  ar- 
tificers ;  and  instead  of  deserting  the  deserted,  like  women 
in  general,  she  has  made  it  a  point  of  honor  to  reinstate 
them  at  court.  I  could  answer  for  it  that  she  will  revive 
and  re-establish  this  family.  This  is  what  Providence  had 
in  store  for  them,  and  which  prevented  us  from  being 
able  to  read  distinctly  what  it  had  written  for  Mademoiselle 
d'Alerac.  Adieu,  sir ;  love  me,  for  indeed  you  ought.  I  love 
your  mind,  your  worth,  your  wisdom,  your  folly,  your  virtue, 

364  LETTERS    TO 

your  humor,  your  goodness  :  in  short,  all  that  belongs  to  you, 
and  wish  you,  and  the  pretty  covey  under  your  wing,  which 
must  afford  you  so  much  pleasure  and  comfort,  every  possi- 
ble happiness.  All  here  salute  you,  except  our  friend,  who 
knows  nothing  of  this  hasty  letter.  I  shall  talk  of  you  a 
great  deal  with  Bourdaloue.  Madame  Dangeau,  formerly  Ba- 
varia, is  very  prudent,  very  amiable,  and  makes  her  husband 
very  happy  ;  she  might  have  made  him  very  ridiculous. 


Wednesday,  March  2,  1689. 
What  things,  sir,  may  not  be  said !  what  a  period  in  the 
history  of  our  monarch  is  the  manner  in  which  he  has  re- 
ceived the  king  of  England  !  the  presents  with  which  he  has 
loaded  him  in  setting  out  from  hence  for  Ireland ;  vessels  at 
Brest,  where  he  now  is,  frigates,  troops,  officers ;  the  Count 
d'Avaux  as  embassador  extraordinary  and  adviser,  and  who  is 
also  to  have  the  care  of  the  troops  and  money  ;  two  millions 
on  his  departure,  and  as  much  afterward  as  he  wants  !  Be- 
side these  great  things  he  has  given  him  his  arms,  his  helmet, 
his  cuirass,  which  can  not  fail  of  bringing  good  fortune  to 
him.  He  has  given  him  arms  sufficient  for  ten  or  twelve 
thousand  men.  And  as  to  little  conveniences  they  are  in- 
numerable :  post-chaises  admirably  made,  calashes,  carriage 
and  saddle-horses,  services  of  gold  and  silver,  toilets,  linen, 
camp-beds,  magnificent  swords  of  state,  swords  for  service, 
pistols;  in  short,  every  thing  of  every  kind  that  can  be 
thought  of;  and  in  embracing  him  as  he  bid  him  adieu,  he 
said  to  him,  "  You  can  not  say  that  I  am  not  affected  at  your 
departure  :  I  own  to  you,  however,  that  I  wish  never  to  see 
you  again ;  but  if,  unfortunately,  you  should  return,  be  as- 
sured you  will  find  me  as  you  leave  me."  Nothing  could  be 
better  said,  nothing  more  just :  generosity,  magnificence,  mag- 


nanimity  were  never  exercised  as  they  have  been  by  his 
majesty  on  this  occasion. 

We  hope  that  the  Irish  war  will  be  a  powerful  diversion, 
and  prevent  the  Prince  of  Orange  from  tormenting  us  by 
descents  upon  our  coast ;  and  thus  our  three  hundred  thou- 
sand soldiers,  our  armies  so  well  stationed  every  where,  will 
only  serve  to  make  the  king  feared,  without  any  one  daring 
to  attack  him. 

This  is  a  time  of  political  discussion  :  I  should  very  much 
like  to  hear  you  talk  over  these  great  events.  I  inclose  the  opin- 
ion of  a  respectable  upholsterer  on  the  questions,  respecting  fur- 
niture, of  Madame  de  Moulceau :  but  whatever  he  may  say  of  a 
gold  fringe  and  double  taffeties  for  curtains,  and  though  there 
are  many  such  here,  nothing  is  so  pretty,  so  suitable,  or  so 
cool  for  the  summer,  as  curtains  made  of  these  beautiful  taf- 
feties single,  and  tapestry  the  same.  I  have  seen  them  at  sev- 
eral houses,  and  admire  them  exceedingly :  every  thing  must 
be  looped  up,  and  plaited,  as  he  has  directed  :  for  the  other 
kind  of  furniture,  you  must  have  damask  or  brocade. 


Grignan,  Friday,  November  10,  1690. 

Where  do  you  think  I  am,  sir  ?  Did  you  not  know  I  was 
in  Brittany  ?  Our  Corbinelli  must  have  told  you  so.  After 
having  been  there  sixteen  months  with  my  son,  I  thought  it 
would  be  very  pleasant  to  spend  the  winter  here  with  my 
daughter.  This  plan  of  a  journey  of  a  hundred  and  fifty 
leagues  at  first  appeared  a  castle  in  the  air ;  but  affection  ren- 
dered it  so  easy,  that  in  fact  I  executed  it  between  the  3d 
and  24th  of  October,  on  which  day  I  arrived  at  Robinet's 
gate,  where  I  was  received  by  Madame  de  Grignan  with  open 
arms,  and  with  so  much  joy,  affection,  and  gratitude,  that  I 
thought  T  had  not  come  soon  enough,  nor  from  a  sufficiently 

366  LETTERS    TO 

great  distance.  After  this,  sir,  tell  me  that  friendship  is  not  a 
fine  thing !  it  makes  me  often  think  of  you,  and  wish  to  see 
you  here  once  more  during  my  life.  We  shall  be  here  the 
whole  of  this  winter,  and  the  next  summer ;  if  you  do  not  find 
a  moment  to  come  and  see  us,  I  shall  think  you  have  for- 
gotten me.  You  will  not  know  this  house  again,  it  is  so 
much  improved ;  but  you  will  find  its  owners  still  abounding 
with  esteem  for  you ;  and  me,  sir,  possessing  a  regard  for 
you,  capable  of  driving  our  friend  to  madness,  and  worthy  of 
your  paying  us  this  visit. 


GrRiGNAN,  June  5,  1695. 

I  intend,  sir,  to  bring  an  action  against  you,  and  thus  I  set 
about  it.  I  wish  you  to  judge  it  yourself.  I  have  been  here 
for  more  than  a  year  with  my  daughter,  for  whom  I  have  as 
much  love  as  ever.  Since  that  time  you  have  no  doubt  heard 
of  the  marriage  of  the  Marquis  de  Grignan  to  Mademoiselle  de 
Saint-Amand.  You  have  seen  her  often  enough  at  Mont- 
pellier  to  be  acquainted  with  her  person ;  you  have  also  heard 
mention  of  the  vast  wealth  of  her  father.  You  are  not  ig- 
norant that  this  marriage  was  solemnized  with  great  pomp  in 
the  chateau  which  you  know.  I  suppose  you  can  not  have 
forgotten  the  time  when  the  true  esteem  we  have  always  pre- 
served for  you  began.  On  this  subject  I  measure  your  senti- 
ments by  my  own,  and  I  judge  that,  we  not  having  forgotten 
you,  you  can  not  have  forgotten  us. 

I  even  include  M.  de  Grignan,  whose  date  is  still  more  an- 
cient than  ours.  I  collect  all  these  things,  and  I  find  myself 
injured  on  every  side  ;  I  complain  of  it  here,  I  complain  of  it 
to  our  friends,  I  complain  of  it  to  our  dear  Corbinelli,  the 
jealous  confidant  and  witness  of  all  the  esteem  and  friendship 
we  bear  you ;  and  at  length,  sir,  I  complain  of  it  to  yourself. 
Whence  proceeds  this  silence  ?  is  it  from  forgetfulness  ?  from 


perfect  indifference  ?  I  know  not  which  to  say  :  what  would 
you  have  me  think  ?  What  does  your  conduct  resemble  ? 
Give  a  name  to  it,  sir  ;  the  cause  is  now  ready  for  your  sen- 
tence. Pass  it :  I  consent  that  you  should  be  both  party  and 


Grignan,  Saturday,  February  4,  1696. 
I  was  right,  sir,  when  I  supposed  you  would  be  concerned  at 
my  anxiety,  and  would  use  all  the  diligence  in  your  power  to 
relieve  it.  M.  Barbeirac's  prescription  and  your  letter  had 
wings,  as  you  wished ;  and  it  seems  that  this  little  fever,  which 
appeared  so  low,  had  wings  too,  for  it  vanished  at  the  bare 
mention  of  M.  Barbeirac's  name.  Seriously,  sir,  there  is  some- 
thing miraculous  in  this  sudden  change ;  and  I  can  not  doubt 
that  your  wishes  and  your  prayers  contributed  to  produce  it. 
Judge  of  my  gratitude  by  their  effect.  My  daughter  goes 
halves  with  me  in  all  I  say  here ;  she  returns  you  a  thousand 
thanks,  and  entreats  you  to  give  a  great  many  to  M.  Barbeirac. 
We  are  happy  in  having  no  longer  any  thing  to  do,  but  to 
take  patience  and  rhubarb,  which  she  finds  agree  well  with 
her.  We  doubt  not  that  in  this  quiet  state,  rhubarb  is  a  medi- 
cine which  M.  Barbeirac  must  approve,  with  a  regimen,  which 
is  sometimes  better  than  all.  Thank  God,  sir,  both  for  your- 
self and  for  us ;  for  we  are  certain  that  you  are  interested  in 
tnis  acknowledgment ;  and  then,  sir,  cast  your  eyes  upon  all 
the  inhabitants  of  this  chateau,  and  judge  of  their  sentimenta 
for  you. 


FROM   1676   TO   1696. 


Paris,  Monday,  Dec.  15,  1670. 
I  am  going  to  tell  you  a  thing  the  most  astonishing,  the 
most  surprising,  the  most  marvelous,  the  most  miraculous,  the 
most  magnificent,  the  most  confounding,  the  most  unheard  of, 
the  most  singular,  the  most  extraordinary,  the  most  incredible, 
the  most  unforeseen,  the  greatest,  the  least,  the  rarest,  the 
most  common,  the  most  public,  the  most  private  till  to-day, 
the  most  brilliant,  the  most  enviable ;  in  short,  a  thing  of  which 
there  is  but  one  example  in  past  ages,  and  that  not  an  exact 
one  either ;  a  thing  that  we  can  not  believe  at  Paris ;  how 
then  will  it  gain  credit  at  Lyons  ?  a  thing  which  makes  every- 
body cry,  "  Lord  have  mercy  upon  us !"  a  thing  which  causes 
the  greatest  joy  to  Madame  de  Rohan  and  Madame  de  Haut- 
erivs;  a  thing,  in  fine,  which  is  to  happen  on  Sunday  next, 
when  those  who  are  present  will  doubt ,  the  evidence  of  their 
senses ;  a  thing  which,  though  it  is  to  be  done  on  Sunday,  yet 
perhaps  will  not  be  finished  on  Monday.  I  can  not  bring  my- 
self to  tell  it  you  ;  guess  what  it  is.  I  give  you  three  times  to 
do  it  in.     What,  not  a  word  to  throw  at  a  dog  ?     Well  then, 

*  Philip  Emanuel  de  Coulanges,  master  of  the  requests,  so  well 
known  in  the  gay  world  for  his  wit,  humor,  and  the  singular  talent  he 
had  for  a  jovial  song.     He  was  cousin-german  to  Madame  de  Sevigne. 

LETTERS    TO     M.    DE     COULANGES.  369 

I  find  I  must  tell  you.     Monsieur  de  Lauzun*  is  to  be  married 

next  Sunday  at  the  Louvre,  to pray  guess  to  whom  ! 

I  give  you  four  times  to  do  it  in,  I -give  you  six,  I  give  you  a 
hundred.  Says  Madame  de  Coulanges,  "  It  is  really  very  hard 
to  guess;  perhaps  it  is  Madame  de  la  Valliere."  Indeed, 
madam,  it  is  not.  "  It  is  Mademoiselle  de  Eetz,  then."  No, 
nor  she  neither ;  you  are  extremely  provincial.  "  Lord  bless 
me,"  say  you,  "  what  stupid  wretches  we  are  !  it  is  Mademoi- 
selle de  Colbert  all  the  while."  Nay,  now  you  are  still  further 
from  the  mark.  "  Why  then  it  must  certainly  be  Mademoiselle 
de  Crequy."  You  have  it  not  yet.  Well,  I  find  I  must  tell 
you  at  last.     He  is  to  be  married  next  Sunday,  at  the  Louvre, 

with  the  king's  leave,  to  Mademoiselle,  Mademoiselle  de 

Mademoiselle — guess,  pray  guess  her  name ;  he  is  to  be  mar- 
ried to  Mademoiselle,  the  great  Mademoiselle  ;  Mademoiselle, 
daughter  to  the  late  Monsieur  ;f  Mademoiselle,  grand-daughter 
of  Henry  the  IVth;  Mademoiselle  d'Eu,  Mademoiselle  de 
Dombes,  Mademoiselle  de  Montpensier,  Mademoiselle  d'Or- 
leans,  Mademoiselle,  the  king's  cousin-german,  Mademoiselle, 
destined  to  the  throne,  Mademoiselle,  the  only  match  in  France 
that  was  worthy  of  Monsieur.  What  glorious  matter  for  talk  ! 
If  you  should  burst  forth  like  a  bedlamite,  say  we  have  told 
you  a  lie,  that  it  is  false,  that  we  are  making  a  jest  of  you,  and 
that  a  pretty  jest  it  is,  without  wit  or  invention ;  in  short,  if 
you  abuse  us,  we  shall  think  you  quite  in  the  right ;  for  we 
have  done  just  the  same  things  ourselves.  Farewell,  you  will 
find  by  the  letters  you  receive  this  post,  whether  we  tell  you 
truth  or  not. 


Paris,  Friday,  Dec.  19,  1670. 
What  is  called  "  falling  from  the  clouds,"  happened  last  night 
at  the  Tuilleries  ;  but  I  must  go  further  back.     You  have  al- 

*  Antonius  Nompar  de  Caumont,  Marquis  de  Puiguilhem,  afterward 
Duke  de  Lauzun. 

f  Gaston  of  France,  Duke  of  Orleans,  brother  to  Louis  XTTI. 


g>70  LETTERS    TO 

ready  shared  in  the  joy,  the  transport,  the  ecstacies  of  the  prin- 
cess and  her  happy  lover.  It  was  just  as  I  told  you,  the  affair 
was  made  public  on  Monday.  Tuesday  was  passed  in  talking, 
astonishment,  and  compliments.  Wednesday,  mademoiselle 
made  a  deed  of  gift  to  Monsieur  de  Lauzun,  investing  him  with 
certain  titles,  names,  and  dignities,  necessary  ,to  be  inserted  in 
the  marriage-contract,  which  was  drawn  up  that  day.  She 
gave  him  then,  till  she  could  give  him  something  better,  four 
duchies ;  the  first  was  that  of  Count  d'Eu,  which  entitles  him 
to  rank  as  first  peer  of  France ;  the  Dukedom  of  Montpen* 
sier,  which  title  he  bore  all  that  day ;  the  Dukedom  de  Saint 
Fargeau ;  and  the  Dukedom  de  Chatellerault,  the  whole  val- 
ued at  twenty-two  millions  of  livres.  The  contract  was  then 
drawn  up,  and  he  took  the  name  of  Montpensier.  Thursday 
morning,  which  was  yesterday,  mademoiselle  was  in  expecta- 
tion of  the  king's  signing  the  contract,  as  he  had  said  that  he 
would  do ;  but,  about  seven  o'clock  in  the  evening,  the  queen, 
monsieur,  and  several  old  dotards  that  were  about  him,  had  so 
persuaded  his  majesty  that  his  reputation  would  suffer  in  this 
affair,  that,  sending  for  mademoiselle  and  Monsieur  de  Lauzun, 
he  announced  to  them,  before  the  prince,  that  he  forbade  them 
to  think  any  further  of  this  marriage.  Monsieur  de  Lauzun 
received  the  prohibition  with  all  the  respect,  submission,  firm 
ness,  and,  at  the  same  time,  despair,  that  could  be  expected  in 
so  great  a  reverse  of  fortune.  As  for  mademoiselle,  she  gave 
a  loose  to  her  feelings,  and  burst  into  tears,  cries,  lamentations, 
and  the  most  violent  expressions  of  grief ; ,  she  keeps  her  bed 
all  day  long,  and  takes  nothing  within  her  lips  but  a  little 
broth.  What  a  fine  dream  is  here !  what  a  glorious  subject 
for  a  tragedy  or  romance,  but  especially  talking  and  reasoning 
eternally  !  This  is  what  we  do  day  and  night,  morning  and 
evening,  without  end,  and  without  intermission;  we  hope  you 
do  the  same,  Efra  tanto  vi  bacio  le  mani :  "  and  with  this  I 
kiss  your  hand." 

M.    DE    COULANGES.  3*11 


Paris,  Wednesday,  Dec.  24,  1670. 
You  are  now  perfectly  acquainted  with  the  romantic  story 
of  mademoiselle  and  of  Monsieur  de  Lauzun.  It  is  a  story 
well  adapted  for  a  tragedy,  and  in  all  the  rules  of  the  theater ; 
we  laid  out  the  acts  and  scenes  the  other  day.  We  took  four 
days  instead  of  four  and  twenty  hours,  and  the  piece  was  com- 
plete. Never  was  such  a  change  seen  in  so  short  a  time ; 
never  was  there  known  so  general  an  emotion.  You  certainly 
never  received  so  extraordinary  a  piece  of  intelligence  before. 
M.  de  Lauzun  behaved  admirably ;  he  supported  his  misfor- 
tune with  such  courage  and  intrepidity,  and  at  the  same  time 
showed  so  deep  a  sorrow,  mixed  with  such  profound  respect, 
that  he  has  gained  the  admiration  of  every  body.  His  loss  is 
doubtless  great,  but  then  the  king's  favor,  which  he  has  by 
this  means  preserved,  is  likewise  great ;  so  that,  upon  the 
whole,  his  condition  does  not  seem  so  very  deplorable.  Made- 
moiselle, too,  has  behaved  extremely  well  on  her  side.  She 
has  wept  much  and  bitterly ;  but  yesterday,  for  the  first  time, 
she  returned  to  pay  her  duty  at  the  Louvre,  after  having  re- 
ceived the  visits  of  every  one  there ;  so  the  affair  is  all  over. 


Paris,  Wednesday,  Dec.  31,  1670. 
I  have  received  your  answers  to  my  letters.  I  can  easily 
conceive  the  astonishment  you  were  in  at  what  passed  between 
the  15th  and  20th  of  this  month ;  the  subject  called  for  it  all. 
I  admire  likewise  your  penetration  and  judgment,  in  imagining 
so  great  a  machine  could  never  support  itself  from  Monday  to 
Sunday.  Modesty  prevents  my  launching  out  in  your  praise 
on  this  head,  because  I  said  and  thought  exactly  as  you  did. 
I  told  my  daughter  on  Monday,  "  This  will  never  go  on  as  it 
should  do  till  Sunday ;  I  will  wager,  notwithstanding  this  wed- 

372  LETTERS    TO 

ding  seems  to  be  sure,  that  it  will  never  come  to  a  conclusion." 
In  effect  the  sky  was  overcast  on  Thursday  morning,  and  about 
ten  o'clock,  as  I  told  you,  the  cloud  burst.  That  very  day  I 
went  about  nine  in  the  morning  to  pay  my  respects  to  made- 
moiselle, having  been  informed  that  she  was  to  go  out  of  town 
to  be  married,  and  that  the  coadjutor  of  Rheims*  was  to  per- 
form the  ceremony.  These  were  the  resolves  on  Wednesday 
night, but  matters  had  been  determined  otherwise  at  the  Louvre 
ever  since  Tuesday.  Mademoiselle  was  writing ;  she  made  me 
place  myself  on  my  knees  at  her  bed-side ;  she  told  me  to 
whom  she  was  writing,  and  upon  what  subject,  and  also  of  the 
fine  presents  she  had  made  the  night  before,  and  the  titles  she 
had  conferred  ;  and  as  there  was  no  match  in  any  of  the  courts 
of  Europe  for  her,  she  was  resolved,  she  said,  to  provide  for 
herself.  She  related  to  me,  word  for  word,  a  conversation  she 
had  had  with  the  king,  and  appeared  overcome  with  joy,  to 
think  how  happy  she  should  make  a  man  of  merit.  She  men- 
tioned, with  a  great  deal  of  tenderness,  the  worth  and  gratitude 
of  M.  de  Lauzun.  To  all  which  I  made  her  this  answer : 
"  Upon  my  word,  mademoiselle,  your  highness  seems  quite 
happy  !  but  why  was  not  this  affair  finished  at  once  last  Mon- 
day ?  Do  not  you  perceive  that  the  delay  will  give  time  and 
opportunity  to  the  whole  kingdom  to  talk,  and  that  it  is  abso- 
lutely tempting  God,  and  the  king,  to  protract  an  affair  of  so 
extraordinary  a  nature  as  this  is  to  so  distant  a  period  ?"  She 
allowed  me  to  be  in  the  right,  but  was  so  sure  of  success,  that 
what  I  said  made  little  or  no  impression  on  her  at  the  time. 
She  repeated  the  many  amiable  qualities  of  Monsieur  de  Lau- 
zun, and  the  noble  house  he  was  descended  from.  To  which  I 
replied  in  these  lines  of  Cornei lie's  Polyeuctus : 

Du  moins  on  ne  la  peut  blamer  d'un  mauvais  choix, 
Polyeucte  a  du  nom.  et  sort  du  sang  des  rois. 

Her  choice  of  him  no  one  can  surely  blame, 
"Who  springs  from  kings,  and  boasts  a  noble  name. 

*  Charles  Maurice  le  Tellier. 

M.    DE     COULANGES.  373 

Upon  which  she  embraced  me  tenderly.  Our  conversation 
lasted  above  an  hour.  It  is  impossible  to  repeat  all  that  passed 
between  us,  but  I  may  without  vanity  say  that  my  company 
was  agreeable  to  her,  for  her  heart  was  so  full  that  she  was 
glad  of  any  one  to  unburden  it  to.  At  ten  o'clock  she  devoted 
her  time  to  the  nobility,  who  crowded  to  pay  their  com- 
pliments to  her.  She  waited  all  the  morning  for  news  from 
court,  but  none  came.  All  the  afternoon  she  amused  herself 
with  putting  M.  de  Montpensier's  apartment  in  order,  which 
she  did  with  her  own  hands.  You  know  what  happened  at 
night.  The  next  morning,  which  was  Friday,  I  waited  upon 
her,  and  found  her  in  bed ;  her  grief  redoubled  at  seeing  me  ; 
she  called  me  to  her,  embraced  me,  and  whelmed  me  with 

"  Ah  !"  said  she,  "  you  remember  what  you  said  to  me  yes- 
terday ?  What  foresight !  what  cruel  foresight !"  In  short, 
she  made  me  weep  to  see  her  weep  so  violently.  I  have  seen 
her  twice  since  ;  she  still  continues  in  great  affliction,  but  be- 
haves to  me  as  to  a  person  that  sympathizes  with  her  in  her 
distress  ;  in  which  she  is  not  mistaken,  for  I  really  feel  senti- 
ments for  her  that  are  seldom  felt  for  persons  of  such  superior 
rank.  This,  however,  between  us  two  and  Madame  de  Cou- 
langes ;  for  you  are  sensible  that  this  chit-chat  would  appear 
ridiculous  to  others. 


The  Rocks,  January  8,  1690. 
What  a  melancholy  date,  my  amiable  cousin,  compared 
with  yours !  It  suits  a  recluse  like  me,  and  that  of  Rome 
suits  one  whose  fate  is  to  wander  uncontrolled,  and  "  who 
stalks  his  idleness  from  one  end  of  the  world  to  the  other." 
What  a  happy  life  !  and  how  mildly  has  Fortune  treated  you, 
as  you  say,  notwithstanding  her  quarrel  with  you  !  Always 
beloved,  always  esteemed,  always  carrying  joy  and  pleasure 

374  LETTERS    TO 

along  with  you,  always  the  favorite  of,  and  fascinated  with, 
some  friend  of  consequence — a  duke,  a  prince,  or  a  pope  (for 
I  will  add  the  holy  father  by  way  of  novelty) ;  always  in  good 
health,  never  at  the  charge  of  any  one,  no  business,  no  ambi- 
tion ;  but,  above  all,  the  advantage  of  not  growing  old ! 
This  is  the  height  of  felicity.  You  doubt,  sometimes,  whether 
you  are  not  advancing,  by  certain  calculations  of  time  and 
years ;  but  old  age  is  still  at  a  distance.  You  do  not  ap- 
proach it  with  horror,  as  some  persons  I  could  name.  This 
is  reserved  for  your  neighbor,  and  you  have  not  even  the 
fears  that  are  usually  felt  at  seeing  a  fire  in  your  neighbor- 
hood. In  short,  after  mature  reflection,  I  pronounce  you  the 
happiest  man  in  the  world.  This  last  journey  to  Rome  is,  in 
my  opinion,  the  most  delightful  adventure  that  could  have 
happened  to  you,  with  an  adorable  embassador  (the  Duke  de 
Chaulnes),  on  a  noble  and  grand  occasion,  and  a  visit  to  the 
beautiful  mistress  of  the  world,  whom,  having  once  seen,  we 
are  always  longing  to  see  again.  I  very  much  like  the  verses 
you  have  made  on  her.  She  can  not  be  too  highly  celebrat- 
ed. I  am  sure  my  daughter  will  approve  them.  They  are 
well  written  and  poetical ;  we  sing  them.  I  am  delighted 
with  what  you  tell  me  of  Paulina,  whom  you  saw  at  Grignan 
in  your  way.  I  have  judged  most  favorably  of  her  from  your 
praises,  and  the  unaffected  letter  you  wrote  to  Madame  de 
Chaulnes,  which  she  has  sent  to  me.  Oh,  how  much  I  should 
like  to  take  a  journey  to  Rome,  as  you  propose  !  but  then  it 
must  be  with  the  face  and  air  I  had  many  years  ago,  and  not 
with  those  I  now  have.  A  woman,  particularly,  should  not 
move  her  old  bones  except  to  be  embassadress.  I  believe  that 
Madame  de  Coulanges,  though  still  young,  is  of  the  same 
opinion  ;  but  in  my  youth  I  should  have  been  in  raptures 
with  such  an  adventure.  It  is  not  the  same  with  you.  Ev- 
ery thing  becomes  you.  Enjoy,  then,  your  privilege,  and  the 
jealousy  you  excite  to  know  who  shall  be  favored  with  you. 
I  will  not  waste  my  time  in  arguing  with  you  on  the  present 
state  of  affairs.     All  the  duke's  prosperities  have  given  mo 

M.    DE    COULANGES.  375 

real  joy.  You  fear  precisely  what  all  his  friends  apprehend, 
that,  being  the  only  one  who  can  fill  the  place  he  holds  with 
equal  success  and  reputation, 'he  will  be  kept  in  it  too  long. 
This  apartment  in  your  new  palace  creates  new  alarms  ;  but 
let  us  do  better.  Let  us  not  anticipate  evils ;  rather  let  us 
hope  that  every  thing  will  happen  as  we  wish,  and  that  we 
shall  all  meet  again  at  Paris.  I  was  delighted  with  your  re- 
membrance, your  letter,  and  your  songs.  Write  to  me  when- 
ever it  is  agreeable  and  convenient.  I  take  the  liberty  of 
sending  this  by  the  embassadress ;  and  I  do  more,  my  dear 
cousin,  for  under  her  protection  I  take  the  liberty  of  embrac- 
ing my  dear  governor  of  Brittany,  and  his  excellency  the  em- 
bassador, with  real  affection,  and  without  offense  to  respect. 
These  hio-h  dignities  do  not  intimidate  me.  I  am  sure  he  still 
loves  me.  God  bless  him  and  bring  him  back  again.  These 
are  my  wishes  for  the  new  year.  Adieu,  my  dear  cousin  ;  I 
embrace  you.  Continue  to  love  me.  I  wish  it — it  is  my 
whim,  and  to  love  you  more  than  you  love  me.  But  you  are 
very  amiable,  and  I  must  not  place  myself  on  a  par  with  you. 


GrRIGNAN,  April  10,  1691. 

We  have  received  a  letter  dated  the  31st  of  March  from 
our  dear  embassador.  It  came  in  less  than  a  week.  This 
expedition  is  delightful,  but  what  he  tells  us  is  still  more  so. 
It  is  impossible  to  write  in  better  spirits.  My  daughter  takes 
upon  herself  to  answer  him,  and  as  I  desire  her  to  send  the 
Holy  Ghost  with  all  diligence,  not  only  to  create  a  pope,*  but 
to  put  a  speedy  termination  to  business,  that  he  may  be  able 
to  pay  us  a  visit.     She  assures  me  that  she  will  send   him 

*  Alexander  VIII.  had  been  dead  for  two  months  and  a  few  days. 
Before  he  died,  he  distributed  among  his  nephews  all  the  money  he 
possessed,  which  made  Pasquin  say  that  it  would  have  been  better  for 
the  church  to  have  been  his  niece  than  his  daughter. 

376  LETTERS    TO 

word  of  the  conquest  of  Nice  in  five  days  after  opening  the 
trenches  by  M.  de  Catinet,  and  that  this  intelligence  will  pro- 
duce the  same  effect  for  our  bulls.  Tell  us,  my  dear  cousin, 
if  we  judge  rightly.  We  have  received  M.  de  Nevers'  epistle 
to  the  little  Le  Clerc  of  the  academy.  It  is  accompanied  by 
one  of  your  letters ;  they  always  give  us  great  pleasure.  The 
packet  came  very  slowly  ;  we  know  not  why.  There  is  nei- 
ther rhyme  nor  reason  in  the  conduct  of  the  post.  We  think 
the  epistle  of  M.  de  Nevers  very  pretty  and  veiy  entertaining. 
In  short,  all  his  productions  have  so  peculiar  and  so  excellent 
a  character  that  after  them  we  can  relish  no  others.  The  two 
last  verses  of  the  song  he  made  for  you,  charmed  my  daugh- 
ter as  a  Cartesian.  Speaking  of  the  fine  wines  of  Italy,  he 
says : 

Sur  la  membrane  de  leur  sens 
Font  des  sillons  charmans.* 

In  short,  it  all  deserves  praise.  For  instance,  can  any  thing 
be  more  humorous,  in  his  epistle,  than  the  smallest  human 
string  wound  up  to  the  highest  pitch  ;  and  the  other  extreme, 
of  a  hundred  crotchets  rolling  in  bass  to  the  very  depth  of 
the  abyss  ?  This  picture  is  complete,  and  the  opera  of  which 
he  speaks  is  deservedly  ridiculed ;  but  we  can  not  comprehend 
why  he  has  given  his  son's  name  to  this  epistle  :  cui  bono  ? 
and  where  is  the  wit  of  it  ?  for  the  style  resembles  his  own 
as  much  as  one  drop  of  water  resembles  another.  It  would 
be  impossible  to  be  deceived,  and  the  subject  can  give  offense 
to  none.     If  you  do  not  explain  this  to  us,  we  shall  be  ill. 

But  let  us  talk  of  your  grief  at  having  lost  this  delightful 
family,f  which  has  so  well  celebrated  your  merit  in  verse  and 
prose,  while  you  at  the  same  time  were  so  much  alive  to  the 
charms  of  its  society.  It  is  easy  to  conceive  the  painfulness 
of  this  separation.  M.  de  Chaulnes  will  not  suffer  us  to  be- 
lieve that  he  shares  it  with  you.     An  embassador  must  be  oc- 

*  They  make  charming  furrows  upon  the  membrane  of  the  senses. 
f  M.  and  Madame  de  Nevers. 



cupied  only  with  the  business  of  the  king,  his  master,  who  on 
his  side  has  taken  Mons,  with  a  hundred  thousand  men, 
in  a  manner  truly  heroic,  going  every  where,  visiting  every 
place,  and  indeed,  exposing  himself  too  much.  The  policy  of 
the  Prince  of  Orange,  who  was  taking  his  measures  very 
quietly  with  the  confederate  princes  for  the  beginning  of  May, 
has  found  itself  a  little  disconcerted  by  this  promptitude. 
He  threatens  to  come  to  the  assistance  of  this  great  place.  A 
prisoner  told  this  to  the  king,  who  replied,  coolly,  "  We  came 
here  to  wait  for  him."  I  defy  your  imagination  to  frame  a 
more  perfect  and  more  precise  answer.  I  therefore,  suppose, 
my  dear  cousin,  that  by  sending  you  the  news  of  this  other 
conquest,*  in  four  days,  your  Rome  will  not  be  sorry  to  live 
paternally  with  her  elder  son.  God  knows  whether  our  em- 
bassador will  ably  support  the  identity  of  the  greatest  king  in 
the  world,  as  M.  de  Nevers  said. 

Let  us  return  to  our  own  country.  Our  little  Marquis  de 
Grignan  went  to  the  siege  of  Nice  like  an  adventurer,  vago  di 
fama  (eager  for  fame).  M.  de  Catinet  gave  him  the  com- 
mand of  the  cavalry  for  several  days,  that  he  might  not  be  a 
volunteer.  This  did  not  prevent  him  from  going  every  where, 
from  exposing  himself  to  the  fire,  which  was  at  first  very 
brisk,  or  from  bearing  fascines,  for  this  is  the  fashion ;  but 
what  sort  of  fascines,  my  dear  cousin  ?     All  from  orange- 

*  The  town  of  Mons  surrendered  to  the  king  on  the  10th  of  April, 
the  day  on  which  this  letter  is  dated,  after  a  siege  of  eighteen  days, 
To  Boileau  is  attributed  the  following  impromptu,  addressed  to  a  lad? 
who  required  him  to  write  some  verses  upon  the  occasion : 

Mons  etait,  disait-on,  pucelle 
Qu'un  roi  gardait  avec  grand  soin ; 
Louis-le-Grand  en  eut  besoin, 
Mons  se  rendit :  vous  auriez  fait  co 

r    Of  THE        -r^ 


Mons  was  a  virgin,  it  is  said, 
Kept  by  a  king  with  greatest  care  ; 
Louis  the  Great  wished  for  the  maid, 
Mons  yielded :  so  would  you,  my  fair. 

378  LETTERS    TO 

trees,  laurels,  and  pomegranates  !  They  feared  nothing  but 
too  great  a  profusion  of  perfumes.  Never  was  there  so  beau- 
tiful or  so  delightful  a  country  seen.  You  can  conceive  what 
it  must  be  from  your  knowledge  of  Italy.  This  is  the  coun- 
try M.  de  Savoie  has  taken  pleasure  in  losing  and  destroying. 
Can  we  call  this  good  policy  ?  We  expect  the  little  colonel 
(the  Marquis  de  Grignan),  who  is  preparing  to  set  out  for 
Piedmont ;  for  this  expedition  to  Nice  is  only  throwing  the  bait 
in  expectation  of  the  game.  He  will  not  be  here  when  you 
pass  ;  but  do  you  know  who  will  find  you  here  ?  My  son, 
who  is  coming  to  spend  the  summer  with  us,  and  to  meet  his 
governor,  by  following  the  footsteps  of  his  mother. 

By  the  by,  spealdng  of  mother  and  son,  do  you  know,  my 
dear  cousin,  that  I  have  been  for  these  ten  days  or  more  in  a 
sorrow  of  heart  from  which  you  alone  have  had  the  power  of 
relieving  me,  while  I  have  been  employed  in  writing  to  you. 
This  has  been  occasioned  by  the  illness  of  the  dowager  Mad- 
ame de  Lavardin,  my  most  intimate  and  oldest  friend ;  this 
woman,  of  such  excellent  and  sound  understanding ;  this  illus- 
trious widow,  who  gathered  us  all  under  her  wing ;  this  per- 
son of  such  exalted  merit,  has  fallen  suddenly  into  a  sort  of 
apoplexy ;  she  is  drowsy,  paralytic,  and  feverish ;  when  she 
is  roused,  she  talks  rationally,  but  she  soon  relapses ;  in  short, 
my  child,  my  friendship  could  not  sustain  a  greater  loss ;  I 
should  feel  it  keenly.  The  Duchess  de  Chaulnes  writes  to  me 
respecting  her,  and  is  very  much  grieved  at  her  illness ;  Mad- 
ame de  la  Fayette  still  more  so.  Indeed,  her  merit  is  so  well 
known,  that  every  one  is  interested  as  in  a  public  loss  ;  judge, 
then,  what  her  friends  must  feel.  I  am  informed  that  M.  de 
Lavardin  is  very  much  affected ;  I  hope  it  is  true  ;  it  is  an 
honor  to  him  to  grieve  for  a  mother  to  whom  he  is  in  a  man- 
ner indebted  for  whatever  he  is.  Adieu,  my  dear  cousin  ;  my 
heart  is  full,  I  can  write  no  more.  If  I  had  begun  with  this 
melancholy  subject  I  should  not  have  had  the  courage  to  chat 
with  you  as  I  have  done, 

I  shall  say  no  more  respecting  the  Temple,  I  have  given  my 

M.    DE     COULANGES.  379 

opinion  of  it  already ;  but  I  shall  never  like  or  approve  it. 
Not  so  with  regard  to  you,  for  I  love  you,  and  shall  love  and 
approve  you  always. 


Grionan,  July  24,  1691. 

"  Short  reckonings  make  long  friends :"  I  have  received  all 
your  letters,  my  dear  neighbor  ;  that  of  May  20,  that  of  June 
4,  about  which  you  were  uneasy,  and  the  last  of  July  4 ;  with 
the  epistle  M.  de  Nevers  sent  you  from  Genoa,  and,  in  short, 
all  the  works  of  this  duke,  who  is  the  true  son  of  Apollo  and 
the  Muses.  You  ask  me  if  I  do  not  treasure  all  his  produc- 
tions :  indeed  I  do ;  I  have  not  lost  a  single  one ;  they  have 
highly  amused  us,  as  well  as  every  one  who  has  passed  this 
way  whom  we  have  deemed  worthy  of  them.  The  last  epistle  is 
rather  above  Paulina's  capacity  ;  but  we  have  had  the  pleas- 
ure of  finding  ourselves  capable  of  explaining  to  her  what  she 
did  not  understand.  With  respect  to  the  description  of  the 
dinner,  it  is  suited  to  the  taste  of  the  best  guests ;  and  it  made 
M.  de  Grignan's,  the  Chevalier  de  St.  Andre's,  my  son's,  and 
all  our  mouths  water.  I  never  saw  so  excellent  a  repast.  I 
have  just  placed  it  among  the  other  wonders  of  this  duke.  To 
conclude  the  article  of  letters :  when  you  have  received  that 
of  the  25th  of  June,  and  this,  you  will  have  received  all. 

Let  us  now  come  to  yours,  the  beginning  of  which  had 
nearly  brought  me  to  tears.  How  can  I  fancy  you  confined  to 
your  bed,  afflicted  in  every  limb  and  every  joint  of  your  poor 
little  body  ;  and  your  nerves  so  affected  that  you  can  neither 
stir  hand  nor  foot  ?  This  is  enough  to  drive  us  to  despair ; 
but  to  see  that  all  this  produces  a  song  upon  your  melancholy 
situation,  accompanied  by  another,  the  most  humorous  in  the 
world,  on  a  thing  which  you  see  daily ;  you  may  suppose,  my 
poor  cousin,  this  is  a  real  comfort  to  our  hearts,  as  it  proves 
that  the  vital  principle  is  not  attacked.     This  fit  of  the  gout 

380  LETTERS    TO 

has  only  given  you  the  blue  devils,  and  made  you  look  for- 
ward tQ  futurity  under  the  most  melancholy  aspect  in  which  it 
can  present  itself  to  you ;  but  this  situation,  so  violent,  and  so 
contrary  to  your  disposition,  has  not  had  leisure  to  make  any 
impression  on  you. 

In  spite  of  St.  Peter,  which  is  past,  and  of  the  predictions 
of  the  physicians,  a  pope  is  made,  and  the  cardinals  will  leave 
the  conclave  without  the  event  having  cost  them  their  lives ; 
on  the  contrary,  they  will  recover  their  health  and  their  lib- 
erty. It  is  not  the  first  time  that  gentlemen  of  the  faculty 
have  erred  in  judgment.  The  Duke  de  Chaulnes  has  written 
us  a  letter  by  the  courier,  dated  the  15th,  which  brings  the 
news  of  the  exaltation :  he  thinks  of  nothing  now  but  of  com- 
ing to  see  us ;  he  will  be'  with  us  a  fortnight;  and  though  the 
pope*  be  a  Neapolitan,  he  maintains  that  the  affair  of  the  bulls 
is  so  well  disposed  of,  that  it  will  be  the  signal  gun  for  saddling 
horses  and  setting  out  for  Grignan ;  this  hope  gives  us  great 
pleasure,  and  very  much  abridges  the  share  I  wished  to  take 
in  all  your  melancholy  calendars ;  it  is  at  an  end,  however,  my 
dear  cousin  ;  you  are  cured,  you  are  set  out,  you  are  on  the 
point  of  arriving  here.  I  embrace  you  a  thousand  times.  Let 
us  talk  a  little  of  the  table  in  the  embassador's  closet,  of  the 
chaos  of  letters,  of  the  deep  abyss  of  bags,  of  the  confusion 
of  papers,  from  which,  like  the  infernal  regions,  when  once  a 
poor  letter  is  thrown  into  it,  it  never  comes  out  again.  It  was 
a  miracle,  indeed,  that  mine  was  found ;  but  it  was  my  daugh- 
ter's letter,  in  which  I  had  written  ;  she  had  a  great  inclina- 
tion to  be  offended  at  being  thus  lost  and  confounded  with  the 
rest ;  but  I  appeased  her  in  the  best  way  I  could,  by  assuring 
her  that  the  embassador  read  what  she  wrote  to  him  with  the 
deepest  attention,  and  that  it  was  upon  my  lines  he  had  not 
condescended  to  throw  a  single  glance  :  and  it  is  the  fact ;  for 
he  said  I  had  not  written  to  him.  She  replied,  "  But  as  it  was 
my  letter,  why  consign  it  to  this  chaos  ?"     To  this  I  knew  not 

*  Cardinal  Pignatelli  was  elected  pope  on  the  12th  of  July,  and  took 
the  name  of  Innocent  XII. 

M.    DE    COULANGES.  381 

what  to  answer ;  the  embassador  will  think  of  it,  if  he  pleases. 
It  is  true  that  my  poor  letters  have  only  the  value  you,  give  to 
them,  by  reading  them  as  you  do ;  for  they  have  their  tones, 
and  are  unbearable  when  they  are  brayed  out,  or  spelled  word 
by  word  :  be  this  as  it  may,  my  dear  cousin,  you  give  them  a 
thousand  times  more  honor  than  they  deserve. 


Grignan,  July  26,  1691. 
I  am  so  astonished  at  the  news  of  the  sudden  death  of  M. 
«ie  Louvois,*  that  I  know  not  how  or  where  to  begin  the  sub- 

*  The  death  of  Louvois,  as  it  is  well  known,  has  been  the  subject  of 
many  discussions.  It  has  been  said  that  he  was  poisoned.  Saint  Simon 
affirms  it ;  and  his  account  charges  the  king  with  this  crime.  Voltaire 
eays,  with  reason,  that  this  is  repugnant  to  every  idea  that  has  been 
formed  of  the  character  of  Louis  XIV.  Of  those  who  felt  like  him, 
some  said  that  it  was  a  revenge  of  the  Duke  de  Savoy's  ;  others,  that 
Louvois  poisoned  himself.  The  last  opinion  deserves  to  be  inquired 
into.  It  is  agreed  on  all  sides  that  he  was  on  the  eve  of  disgrace,  that 
he  expected  harsh  treatment,  that  he  spoke  of  death  as  preferable  to 
this  fall,  and  that  he  was  a  violent  and  passionate  man,  whom  no  scru- 
ple restrained.  Under  all  these  circumstances,  there  is  nothing  very 
improbable  in  his  suicide.  But  it  appears  that  this  fact  was  never 
cleared  up ;  and  it  is  an  inconvenience  to  which  we  are  easily  resigned. 
It  is  certain,  however,  that  the  king  made  no  concealment  that  the 
event  of  his  death  happened  very  opportunely  to  draw  him  out  of  diffi- 
culties ;  it  ,is  also  certain  that  the  death  of  this  man,  who  had  done  so 
much  harm,  was  a  great  loss.  The  epitaph  of  Louvois,  which  appeared 
at  that  time,  gave  a  good  idea  of  the  public  opinion  respecting  him : 

Ici  git,  sous  qui  tout  pliait, 

Et  qui  de  tout  avait  connaissance  parfaite ; 

Louvois  que  personne  n'aimait, 

Et  que  tout  le  monde  regrette. 

Here  lies  one  to  whom  all  yielded ; 

And  who  knew  of  all  the  bent  ; 
Louvois,  who  sense  with  power  wielded, 

"Whom  no  one  loved,  and  all  lament. 

382  LETTERS    TO 

ject  to  you.  This  great  minister  then,  this  man  of  conse- 
quence,  who  held  so  exalted  a  situation,  whose  le  moi  (/),  as 
M.  Nicole  says,  was  so  extensive ;  who  was  the  center  of  so 
many  things,  is  dead :  how  many  affairs,  designs,  projects,  se- 
crets, interests  to  unravel,  wars  begun,  intrigues,  and  noble 
moves  at  chess,  had  he  not  to  make  and  to  conduct  lm  "  O 
God,  grant  me  a  little  time ;  I  want  to  give  check  to  the 
Duke  of  Savoy,  check-mate  to  the  Prince  of  Orange."  No,  no, 
not  a  moment,  a  single  moment.  Can  we  reason  upon  this 
strange  event  ?  indeed  we  can  not ;  it  is  in  our  closet  we  must 
reflect  upon  it.  This  is  the  second  minister*  you  have  seen 
expire  since  you  have  been  at  Rome  :  nothing  is  more  differ- 
ent than  the  manner  of  their  death ;  but  nothing  more  similar 
than  their  fortunes,  and  the  hundred  thousand  chains  which 
attached  them  both  to  the  world. 

With  regard  to  the  great  objects  which  ought  to  lead  you  to 
God,  you  say  you  find  your  religious  sentiments  shaken  by 
what  is  passing  at  Rome  and  in  the  conclave.  My  poor  cou- 
sin, you  are  deceived ;  I  have  heard  that  a  man  of  very  excel- 
lent understanding  drew  quite  a  contrary  inference  from  what 
he  saw  in  that  great  city ;  he  concluded  that  the  Christian 
religion  must  necessarily  be  all  holy  and  all  miraculous  to 
subsist  thus,  of  itself,  in  the  midst  of  so  many  disorders  and  so 
much  profanation.  Do  then  as  he  did,  draw  the  same  infer- 
ences, and  believe  that  this  very  city  was  formerly  washed 
with  the  blood  of  an  infinite  number  of  martyrs ;  that  in  the 
first  centuries,  all  the  intrigues  of  the  conclave  ended  in  choos- 
ing from  among  the  priests  him  who  appeared  to  have  the 
greatest  zeal  and  strength  to  endure  martyrdom ;  that  there 
were  thirty-seven  popes  who  suffered,  one  after  the  other ;  and 
that  the  certainty  of  their  fate  had  no  influence  over  them  to 
make  them  fly  from  or  refuse  a  situation  to  which  death  was 
attached,  and  a  death  of  the  most  horrible  nature.  You  have 
only  to  read  this  history  to  be  convinced  that  a  religion,  sub- 
sisting by  a  continual  miracle,  both  in  its  establishment  and  its 

*  With  M.  de  Seignelai. 

M.    DE     C0ULAN6ES,  383 

duration,  can  not  be  an  invention  of  men.  Men  do  not  think 
thus :  read  St.  Augustin  in  his  Verity  de  la  Religicm  (Truth 
of  Religion) ;  read  Abbadie,*  very  different  indeed  from  that 
great  saint,  but  not  unworthy  of  being  compared  with  him 
when  he  speaks  of  the  Christian  religion.  Ask  the  Abbe  de 
Polignac  what  he  thinks  of  this  book.  Collect  all  these  ideas 
and  do  not  judge  so  hastily :  believe  that  whatever  intrigues 
may  take  place  in  the  conclave,  it  is  the  Holy  Ghost  that 
always  makes  the  pope.  God  works  all,  he  is  the  sovereign 
of  all,  and  this  is  what  we  ought  to  think  :  I  have  read  this 
sentiment  in  a  good  book  :  "  What  evil  can  happen  to  a  man 
who  knows  that  God  does  all  things,  and  who  loves  whatever 
God  does  ?"     And  with  this,  my  dear  cousin,  I  take  my  leave. 


GrRlGNAN,  August  14,  1691. 

Come  hither,  that  I  may  embrace  you,  caress  you,  and  tell 
you  that  my  daughter,  whose  approbation  you  so  highly  value, 
is  delighted  with  your  two  little  couplets  on  the  holy  father. 
Nothing,  in  my  opinion,  could  be  better  imagined,  or  better 
executed  :  we  have  all  been  in  raptures.  But,  my  dear  cousin, 
the  Duke  de  Chaulnes,  in  his  letter  of  July  20,  says  not  a  word 
respecting  M.  de  Louvois  ;f  his  death  seems  to  me  to  demand 
an  exclamation  or  two.  His  hopes  are  very  sanguine  as  to 
the  new  pope,  though  not  the  work  of  his  hands ;  all  our  in- 
terest is  that  he  will  give  us  our  bulls,  and  that  you  will  come 
and  pay  us  a  visit ;  that  day  seems  to  me  to  be  at  our  finger's 
end,  so  swiftly  does  time  pass.  You  will  find  my  son  at  Mar- 
seilles, who  will  be  there  to  meet  you  ;  this  is  an  attention  he 

*  Author  of  a  book  on  the  Truth  of  the  Christian  Religion.  He  was 
a  Protestant. 

f  M.  de  Louvois  died  on  the  16th  July,  and  it  is  not  surprising  that 
the  news  of  this  event  should  not  have  reached  M.  de  Chaulnes  on  the 

384  LETTERS    TO 

owes  to  our  governor,  by  way  of  amends  for  not  having  gone 
to  Rome. 

I  long  to  know  what  you  thought  of  the  return  of  M.  de 
Pomponne  to  the  ministry  :  it  was  to  us  a  subject  of  real  joy ; 
M.  and  Madame  de  Grignan  had  no  doubt  of  this  event  from 
a  truly  prophetic  spirit ;  but  I  wished  it  too  much  even  to 
listen  to  them  ;  and  when  Madame  de  Vins  sent  the  news  to 
my  daughter,  I  was  so  surprised  and  so  transported  that  I 
knew  not  what  I  heard :  at  length  I  comprehended  that  it 
was  a  very  agreeable  truth,  not  only  to  me  but  to  the  rest  of 
the  world,  for  you  can  not  form  an  idea  how  generally  his  re- 
turn is  approved.  I  have  paid  my  compliments  to  Madame 
de  Chaulnes  and  our  embassador,  on  the  choice  of  M.  de 
Beauvilliers ;  this  is  another  strange  man  with  whom  the  king 
augments  his  council ;  which  is  now  perfect,  like  every  thing 
his  majesty  does.  He  is  the  cleverest  man  in  his  kingdom,  he 
is  never  idle,  and  provides  for  every  thing ;  nothing  remains 
but  to  pray  to  God  that  he  may  be  preserved  to  us.  The 
dauphin  enters  into  all  the  councils  ;  do  you  not  also  approve 
this  ?  it  is  truly  associating  him  with  the  empire.  We  have 
subjects  for  admiration  every  where.  If  your  good  pope 
would  make  peace,  it  would  be  an  act  worthy  of  himself,  and 
would  place  us  in  a  situation  to  praise,  with  a  more  tranquil 
mind,  all  the  wonders  we  see.  Adieu,  my  dear  cousin,  you 
know  how  I  am  disposed  toward  you.  M.  de  Barillon  and 
M.  de  Jannin  are  dead ;  we  shall  die  too. 


Paris,  February  3,  1695. 

Madame  de  Chaulnes  sends  me  word  that  I  am  fortunate  in 

being  here  in  the  sunshine  ;  she  thinks  all  our  days  are  woven 

with  silk  and  gold.     Alas  !  my  dear  cousin,  it  is  a  hundred 

times  colder  here  than  at  Paris;  we  are  exposed  to  every 

M.    DE     COULANGES.  385 

wind ;  it  is  the  south  wind,  the  north-east  wind,  it  is  the  devil ; 
it  is  who  shall  insult  us  ;  they  fight  among  themselves  which 
shall  have  the  honor  of  confining  us  to  our  apartments.  All 
our  rivers  are  taken ;  the  Rhone,  the  furious  Rhone,  can  not 
resist  them.  Our  writing-desks  are  frozen,  our  benumbed  fin- 
gers can  no  longer  guide  our  pens.  We  breathe  nothing  but 
snow ;  our  mountains  are  charming  in  their  excess  of  horror. 
I  wish  every  day  for  a  painter  who  could  take  a  good  repre- 
sentation of  these  frightful  beauties ;  such  is  our  situation. 
Relate  it  to  our  good  Duchess  de  Chaulnes,  who  fancies  us 
to  be  in  meadows  with  parasols,  walking  under  the  shadow  of 
orange-trees.  You  have  formed  an  excellent  idea  of  the  rural 
magnificence  of  our  wedding  ;*  every  one  has  shared  in  the 
praises  you  bestow,  but  we  know  not  what  you  mean  by  the 
wedding-night.  Alas,  how  coarse  you  are !  I  was  charmed 
with  the  manner  and  modesty  of  the  evening ;  I  informed 
Madame  de  Coulanges  so :  the  bride  was  conducted  to  her 
apartment;  her  toilet,  her  linen,  her  night-clothes,  were 
brought ;  she  took  off  her  head-ornaments,  was  undressed,  and 
went  to  bed.  We  knew  nothing  of  who  came  in  or  went  out 
of  her  room ;  every  one  retired  to  his  own  apartment.  We 
arose  the  next  morning  without  going  to  the  bride-folks. 
They  also  arose,  dressed  themselves.  No  foolish  questions  were 
asked  them  :  Are  you  my  son-in-law  ?  are  you  my  daughter- 
in-law  ?  They  are  what  they  are.  No  gay  breakfast  was  pre- 
pared ;  every  one  ate  and  did  as  he  pleased ;  every  thing  was 
conducted  in  silence  and  with  modesty ;  there  were  no  un- 
comfortable looks,  no  confusion,  no  improper  jests;  this  is 
what  I  had  never  seen  before,  and  what  struck  me  as  being 
the  most  becoming  and  the  pleasantest  thing  in  the  world. 
The  cold  freezes  me,  and  makes  the  pen  fall  from  my  hands. 
Where  are  you  ?  at  St.  Martin's,  at  Meudon,  or  at  Baville  ? 
What  happy  spot  contains  the  youthful  and  amiable  Cou- 
langes? I  have  just  been  railing  against  avarice  to  Madame 
de  Coulanges.     It  gives  me  great  joy,  from  the  riches  Mad- 

*  The  marriage  of  the  Marquis  de  Grignan. 


386  LETTERS    TO 

ame  de  Meckelbourg  has  left,  to  think  I  shall  die  without  any 
ready  money,  but  at  the  same  time  without  debts  ;  this  is  all 
I  ask  of  God,  and  is  enough  for  a  Christian. 


G-rignan,  May  28,  1695. 

I  have  received  your  two  letters  from  Chaulnes,  my  dear 
cousin !  we  found  some  verses  in  them  that  delighted  us ;  we 
have  sung  them  with  extreme  pleasure,  and  more  than  one 
person  will  tell  you  so,  for  you  must  not  be  ignorant  of  the 
good  taste  we  preserve  here  for  every  thing  you  do.  With 
respect  to  the  gayety  and  charms  of  your  mind,  you  certainly 
advance,  and  go  back  with  respect  to  your  register  ;  this  is  all 
that  can  be  wished,  and  is  what  naturally  lays  the  foundation 
of  the  desire  every  one  has  for  your  society.  To  whom  are 
you  not  welcome  ?  with  whom  do  you  not  accommodate  your- 
self ?  and  then,  which  is  best  of  all,  your  conduct  in  not  ob- 
truding yourself,  and  in  allowing  room  to  the  wish  of  seeing 
you,  gives  the  true  relish  to  your  vanity.  The  proverb  must 
be  forcible  indeed,  if  it  be  true,  that  you  are  not  a  prophet  in 
your  own  country.  I  often  receive  news  from  Madame  de 
Coulanges ;  her  correspondence  is  very  entertaining,  and  her 
health  ought  no  longer  to  create  alarm,  especially  having  the 
resource  which  we  must  have,  that  when  she  is  tired  of  medi- 
cine, and  undeceived  with  respect  to  it,  the  most  salutary  rem- 
edy will  be  to  take  no  more. 

But  to  return  to  Chaulnes.  I  know  its  beauty,  and  can  dis- 
cern from  hence  how  dull  our  good  governor  is  there.  It  is 
in  vain  for  you  to  give  the  best  reasons  in  the  world  ;  he  will 
constantly  answer,  "  I  do  not  know  :"  and  if  you  go  on,  he 
will  silence  you  by  saying,  "  I  shall  die."  This  is  what  will 
happen,  no  doubt,  till  he  has  acquired  a  taste  for  repose,  and 
for  the  charms  of  a  quiet  life.  Habits  are  too  strong,  and  the 
agitation  attached  to  command  and  to  a  high  station  has  made 

M.    DE    COULANGES.  387 

too  deep  an  impression  to  be  easily  effaced.  I  wrote  to  this 
duke  upon  the  deputation  of  my  son,  and  I  jested  with  him, 
saying  things  I  did  not  believe  respecting  his  solitude  at 
Chaulnes ;  I  treated  him  like  a  true  hermit,  holding  conversa- 
tions with  the  beautiful  fountain  called  the  solitary.  I  sup- 
posed his  repasts  suited  to  his  situation,  and  that  dates  and 
wild  fruits  would  compose  all  his  banquets ;  I  pitied  his  house- 
steward,  and  in  saying  all  these  trifles,  I  found  that  I  stood  in 
great  need  of  you  ;  and  that  the  braying*  I  know  him  to  pos- 
sess, would  make  strange  work  with  my  poor  letter.  You 
came  to  my  assistance,  as  I  supposed  you  would ;  and  you  are 
now  in  another  country,  where  you  feel  all  the  delight  of  pa- 
ternal love  ;  what  say  you  ?  you  could  not  have  believed  it  to 
be  so  strong  if  you  had  not  experienced  it ;  it  would  have 
been  a  great  pity  if  all  the  good  instructions  you  have  given 
to  little  children  had  not  been  followed  by  some  child  of  your 
imagination.  The  little  Count  de  Nicei  is  a  master-piece,f  and 
the  singularity  of  being  invisible  makes  him  superior  to  the 
rest.  You  make  so  good  a  use  of  this  story  that  I  scarcely 
dare  recall  you ;  you  have  immortalized  it ;  nothing  can  be 
prettier  than  these  couplets ;  we  sing  them  with  pleasure.  We 
have  had  a  delightful  introduction  of  spring  ;  but,  for  two  days 
past,  the  rain,  which  we  do  not  like  here,  has  been  as  violent 
as  in  Brittany  and  Paris,  so  that  we  have  been  accused  of  hav- 
ing brought  it  into  fashion  ;  it  interrupts  our  walks,  but  it  does 
not  silence  our  nightingales ;  in  short,  my  dear  cousin,  our 
days  pass  too  quickly.  We  dispense  with  great  bustle,  and 
with  the  great  world ;  our  society,  however,  would  not  dis- 
please you  ;  and  if  ever  a  puff  of  wind  should  blow  you  to  this 
royal  chateau — .  But  this  is  a  chimera,  we  must  hope  to  see 
you  again  elsewhere  in  a  more  natural  and  probable  situation  ; 
we  have  yet  a  summer  before  us  for  writing  to  each  other. 

*  M.  de  Chaulnes  read  as  ill  as  M.  de  Coulanges  read  well. 

f  The  whole  of  this  pleasantry  is  explained  in  some  songs  of  M.  de 
Coulanges  to  Madame  de  Louvois,  and  turns  upon  a  story  which  had 
com©  to  them  from  Provence. 

388  LETTERS    TO 


Grignan,  August  6,  1695. 

I  shall  write  you  only  a  very  snort  and  poor  letter,  my  dear 
friend,  to  thank  you  for  yours,  which  has  given  us  great  pleas- 
ure. I  shall  never  change  my  opinion  with  respect  to  long 
and  circumstantial  details,  while  I  read  yours.  We  are 
charmed  with  Navarre  ;*  the  situation,  the  building,  like  that 
of  Marly,  which  I  have  never  seen,  the  excellent  society — all 
this  convinces  me  that  the  house  ought  to  rank  with  yours ; 
as  for  Choisy,  it  is  made  on  purpose  for  you.  Your  couplets 
inform  all  who  pass,  of  the  nobility  of  its  origin  and  its  fate ; 
but  you  deserve  to  be  exalted  to  the  skies  by  the  couplet,  in 
which  you  humble  yourself  to  the  foot  of  the  mount  with  the 
coachman  of  Verthamont  ;\  any  man  who  will  place  himself 
up  to  the  ears  in  this  mud,  and  will  croak  such  pretty  coup- 
lets, deserves  the  situation  M.  Tambonneau  gives  him.  The 
couplet  ranks  with  the  best  you  have  ever  made ;  the  countess, 
whose  approbation  you  always  ask,  entreats  you  to  believe  it ; 
it  is  charming,  it  surprises ;  in  short,  croak  on,  and  communi- 
cate your  croakings  to  us. 

But,  good  God,  what  an  effusion  of  blood  at  Namur !  how 
many  tears !  how  many  widows  !  and  how  many  afflicted 
mothers  !  And  they  are  cruel  enough  to  think  this  is  not  suf- 
ficient, and  they  wish  that  Marshal  de  Villeroi  had  also  beaten, 
killed  and  massacred  poor  M.  de  Vaudemont  ?J  what  madness ! 
I  am  uneasy  respecting  your  nephew  de  Sanzei ;  I  pity  his 
mother ;  it  is  said  that  she  is  coming  nearer  to  wait  the  event 
of  the  siege,  which  appears  to  us  to  be  worthy  of  the  fury  of 
the  marshal  (de  Boufflers)  who  defends  it ;  no  opportunity  of 
fighting  is  lost.     Our  Germany  is  very  quiet ;  our  principal 

*  A  chateau  near  Evreux,  which  belonged  to  the  Duke  de  Bouillon, 
f  A  famous  coachman,  who  made  all  the  songs  of  the  Pont-ueuf. 
%  M.  de  Vaudemont  made  a  noble  retreat  before  Marshal  de  Villeroi^ 
who  had  lost  time. 

M.    DE     COULANGES.  389 

anxiety  is  for  her.*  Adieu,  my  dear  cousin  ;  did  1  not  prom- 
ise you  that  my  letter  would  be  dull  ?  We  have  sometimes 
sorrows,  and  we  know  why ;  I  speak  of  them  to  Madame  ue 
Coulanges.  My  daughter  sends  you  her  remembrances  ;  you 
have  highly  amused  her  by  your  songs  and  your  chat,  for 
your  letter  is  a  true  conversation.  I  have  scattered  your  re- 
membrances in  every  apartment ;  they  have  been  received,  and 
are  returned  with  zeal.  I  embrace  you,  my  amiable  cousin, 
and  exhort  you  still  to  spend  your  time  delightfully  in  honor 
of  polygamy,f  which,  instead  of  being  a  hanging-case  to  you, 
constitutes  all  the  pleasure  and  happiness  of  your  life. 


Grignan,  October  15,  1695. 
I  have  just  been  writing  to  our  Duke  and  Duchess  de 
Chaulnes ;  but  I  excuse  you  from  reading  my  letters ;  they 
are  not  worth  reading.  I  defy  all  your  emphasis,  all  your  points 
and  commas  to  produce  any  good  effect,  therefore  leave  them 
as  they  are  ;  besides,  I  have  spoken  of  several  little  things  to 
our  duchess,  which  are  not  very  entertaining.  The  best  thing 
you  could  do  for  me,  my  good  cousin,  would  be  to  send  us,  by 
some  subtle  magic,  all  the  blood,  all  the  vigor,  all  the  health, 
and  all  the  mirth  which  you  have  to  spare,  to  transfuse  it  into 
my  child's  frame.  For  these  three  months  she  has  been 
afflicted  with  a  species  of  disorder  which  is  said  to  be  not 
dangerous,  and  which  I  think  the  most  distressing  and  the 
most  alarming  of  any.  I  own  to  you,  my  dear  cousin,  that  it 
destroys  me,  and  that  I  have  not  fortitude  enough  to  endure 
all  the  bad  nights  she  makes  me  pass ;  in  short,  her  last  state 
has  been  so  violent  that  it  was  necessary  to  have  recourse  to 

*  On  account  of  the  Marquis  de  Grignan,  who  was  in  the  army  of 

f  A  jest  on  the  subject  of  M.  de  Coulanges'  second  wife,  Madamo 
de  Louvois. 

390  LETTERS     TO 

bleeding  in  the  arm ;  strange  remedy,  which  makes  blood  t> 
be  shed  when  too  much  has  been  shed  already ;  it  is  burning 
the  taper  at  both  ends ;  she  has  told  me  so,  for,  in  the  midst 
of  her  weakness  and  change,  nothing  can  exceed  her  courage 
and  patience.  If  we  could  regain  strength,  we  should  soon 
take  the  road  to  Paris ;  it  is  what  we  wish,  and  then  we  would 
present  the  Marchioness  of  Grignau  to  you,  with  whom  you 
must  already  begin  to  be  acquainted  on  the  word  of  the  Duke 
de  Chaulnes,  who  has  very  gallantly  forced  open  her  door, 
and  has  drawn  a  very  pleasing  likeness  of  her.  Preserve  your 
friendship  for  us,  my  dear  cousin,  however  unworthy  of  it  our 
sorrow  may  make  us ;  we  must  love  our  friends  with  all  their 
faults ;  it  is  a  great  one  to  be  ill :  God  grant,  my  dear  friend, 
that  you  may  escape  it.  I  write  to  Madame  de  Coulanges  in 
the  same  plaintive  tone,  which  will  not  quit  me ;  for  how  is  it 
possible  not  to  be  as  ill  in  mind  as  this  countess,  whom  I  see 
daily  before  my  eyes,  is  in  body  ?  Madame  de  Coulanges  is 
very  fortunate  in  being  out  of  the  scrape.  It  seems  to  me  as 
if  mothers  ought  not  to  live  long  enough  to  see  their  daugh- 
ters in  such  situations ;  I  respectfully  complain  of  it  to  Provi- 


G-RIGNAN,  March,  1696. 
I  know  not  how  the  affairs  of  England  go  on ;  the  Countess 
de  Fiesque  is  the  only,  one  who  has  a  good  opinion  of  them, 
and  is  still  certain  that  they  will  end  well.  I  have  taken  three 
meals  at  the  Marsans',  which  agree  very  well  with  me ;  I  shall 
put  their  whole  family  into  my  basket.  M.  de  Marsan  always 
reminds  his  wife  that  she  is  no  longer  Madame  de  Seignelai ; 
and  that,  being  only  Madame  de  Marsan,  she  must  accommo- 
date herself  to  all  his  friends,  of  whatever  form  or  rank,  and 
let  every  one  live  after  his  own  way.  I  am  to  go  on  Saturday 
to  Saint  Martin's,  and  to-morrow  I  shall  go  to  Versailles,  to 


condole  with  my  friend,  and  pass  the  day  with  Mescames  de 
Villeroi  and  Mademoiselle  de  Bouillon,  whom  I  shall  find  there. 
Madame  de  Guise  has  ordered  her  funeral  to  be  conducted 
without  ceremony,  and  has  preferred  the  burial-ground  of  the 
Carmelites  of  the  great  convent,  to  all  the  pomp  of  Saint 
Denis,  with  the  kings  her  ancestors.  She  was  only  forty-nine 
years  of  age.  Father  de  la  Ferte  will  preach  again  on  Wed- 
nesday;  and  on  Friday,  without  saying  a  word,  he  will  set  off 
for  Canada.  If  he  were  not  to  take  his  departure  in  this  way, 
it  would  cause  a  tumult,  he  is  so  much  liked  by  the  populace  ; 
the  Church  of  the  Jesuits  was  too  small  for  the  multitude 
which  crowded  to  his  sermons. 

I  have  just  been  dining  at  the  Hotel  de  Chaulnes,  where  I 
met  the  Marquis  de  Grignan  ;  he  can  tell  you  that  I  was  not 
in  a  very  ill  humor.     Madame  (La  marechale)  de  Villeroi  yes- 
terday announced  to  Madame  de  Saint-Geran  the  death  of  her 
husband ;  and  the  duke  has  taken  upon  himself  the  charge  of 
the  funeral  this  evening.     He  will  probably  be  the  privileged 
creditor  on  the  inheritance,  for  he  will  advance,  no  doubt,  what 
is  necessary  for  the  ceremony.     This  is  all  I  know,  madam ;  I, 
therefore,  conclude,  and  take  leave  of  you  till  my  return  from 
Saint  Martin's,  which  will  be  when  it  pleases  God.     Madame 
de  Coulanges  is  free  from  the  colic ;  she  only  comjalains  that 
she  has  sometimes  the  little  colic,  which  does  not  prevent  her 
from  eating  and  drinking,  and  associating  with  the  young. 
She  is  very  partial  to  the  Chevalier  de  Bouillon  and  Count 
d'Albret,  and  she  was  delighted  to  meet  M.  de  Marsan  again, 
with  whom  she  has  renewed  a  snuff  acquaintance.     Winter  is 
come  back  within  these  two  days :  it  has  snowed  and  frozen 
in  such  a  manner,  that  we  must  expect  no  apricots  ;  I  fear  the 
peaches  also  will  suffer.     Madame  de  Frontenac  has  a  violent 
cold  and  fever ;  the  fashion  of  dying  alarms  us  for  her.     Our 
poor  D'Enclos  has  also  a  slow  fever,  which  returns  slightly 
every  evening,  with  a  sore  throat,  that  makes  her  friends  un- 
easy ;  in  short,  I  very  much  fear  that  the  work  of  death  is  not 
at  an  end. 

392  LETTERS    TO 


Grignan,  March  29,  1696. 
When  I  have  no  other  employment  I  weep  and  bewail 
aloud  the  death  of  Blanchefort,  that  amiable,  that  excellent 
youth,  who  was  held  up  to  all  our  young  people  as  a  model 
for  imitation.     A  reputation  completely  established,  valor  ac- 
knowledged and  worthy  of  his  name,  a  disposition  happy  for 
himself  (for  a  bad  disposition  is  a  torment  to  its  possessor),  for 
his  friends,  and  for  his  family ;  alive  to  the  affection  of  his 
mother  and  his  grandmother,  loving  them,  honoring  them,  ap- 
preciating their  merit,  taking  pleasure  in  proving  to  them  his 
gratitude,  and  thereby  repaying  them  for  their  extreme  affec- 
tion ;  uniting  good  sense  with  a  fine  person ;  not  vain  of  his 
youth,  as  most  young  people  are,  who  seem  to  think  them- 
selves paragons  of  perfection — and  this  dear  boy,  with  all  his 
perfections,  gone  in  a  moment,  like  a  blossom  borne  away  by 
the  wind,  without  being  in  battle,  without  having  an  oppor- 
tunity to  fight,  and  without  breathing  even  an  unhealthy  air ! 
Where,  my  dear  cousin,  can  we  find  words  to  express  our  ideas 
of  the  grief  of  these  two  mothers,  and  to  convey  to  them  an 
adequate  sense  of  what  we  feel  here  ?     We  do  not  think  of 
writing  tcf  them,  but  if  at  any  time  you  should  have  an  oppor- 
tunity of  mentioning  my  daughter,  and  me,  and  the  Grignans, 
make  known  our  regret  at  this  irreparable  misfortune.     Mad- 
ame de  Vins  has  lost  every  thing,  I  own  ;f  for  when  the  heart 
has  chosen  between  two  sons,  one  only  is  seen.     I  can  talk  of 
nothing  else.     I  bow  in  reverence  to  the  holy  and  modest 
tomb  of  Madame  de  Guise,  whose  renunciation  of  that  of  the 
kings  her  ancestors,  merits  an  eternal  crown.     I  think  M.  de 
Saint-Geran  happy  indeed,  and  so  I  think  you,  for  having  to 
comfort  his  wife ;  say  to  her  for  us  every  thing  you  think 

*  As  the  death  of  Madame  de  Sevigne  happened  in  the  beginning  of 
April,  it  is  probable  that  this  letter  is  the  last  she  wrote.  "We  consider 
its  recovery  as  a  fortunate  circumstance. 

f  Madame  de  Tins  had  lost  an  only  son. 

M.    DE     COULANGES.  393 

proper.  And  as  for  Madame  de  Miramion,  that  mother  of  the 
church,  she  will  be  a  public  loss.  Adieu,  my  dear  cousin,  I 
can  not  change  my  tone.  You  have  finished  your  jubilee. 
The  delightful  trip  to  Saint  Martin's  has  closely  followed  the 
sackcloth  and  ashes  you  mentioned  to  me.  The  happiness  M. 
and  Madame  de  Marsan  are  now  enjoying  well  deserves  that 
you  should  sometimes  see  them,  and  put  them  into  your  bas- 
ket ;  and  I  deserve  a  place  in  that  in  which  you  put  those  who 
love  you  ;  but  I  fear  that  for  them  you  have  no  basket, 



A  Supper. — We  supped  again  yesterday  with  Madame  de 
Scarron  and  the  Abbe  Tetu,  at  Madame  de  Coulanges\  We 
had  a  great  deal  of  chat,  in  which  you  had  your  share.  We 
took  it  into  our  heads  to  conduct  Madame  de  Scarron  home, 
at  midnight  to  the  very  furthest  end  of  the  Faubourg  St. 
Germain,  a  great  way  beyond  Madame  de  la  Fayette's,  almost 
as  far  as  Vaugirard,  and  quite  in  the  country,  where  she  lives 
in  a  large  handsome  house — the  entrance  of  which  is  forbidden 
to  every  one — with  a  large  garden,  and  beautiful  and  spacious 
apartments ;  she  has  an  equipage,  servants,  and  a  genteel  table : 
dresses  neatly,  but  elegantly,  in  the  style  of  a  woman  who 
associates  with  people  of  rank;  she  is  amiable,  handsome, 
good,  free  from  affectation,  and,  in  a  word,  an  excellent  com- 
panion. We  returned  very  merrily,  in  the  midst  of  a  number 
of  flambeaux,  and  in  full  security  from  thieves. 

*  These  selections  from  letters  necessarily  omitted  in  our  plan,  com- 
prise nearly,  if  not  quite  all,  that  is  of  literary  or  moral  value  in  the 
whole  series.  We  are  thus  able  to  give  a  more  distinct  impression  of 
Madame  de  Sevigne's  character  as  a  mother  and  a  Christian.  Besides 
the  many  amusing  anecdotes  here  collected,  her  sentiments  on  im- 
portant duties  of  life  are  of  much  value ;  and  her  religious  feelings  are 
deserving  distinct  recognition.  It  will  be  seen  that  she  studied  her 
Bible,  and  strove  to  follow  its  divine  teachings ;  like  Fenelon,  though 
nominally  a  Romanist,  or  rather  Jansenist,  she  had  in  her  heart  and 
mind  protested  against  the  corruptions  of  that  Church.  Her  clear 
insight,  just  principles,  and  heart-piety  are  remarkably  displayed  in 
these  extracts. 


Port  Royal. — That  Port  Royal  is  a  perfect  Thebais,  a  very 
paradise;  a  desert  where  all  that  is  left  of  true  Christian 
devotion  is  retired.  The  whole  country  for  a  league  round 
breathes  the  air  of  virtue  and  holiness.  The  nuns  are  angels 
upon  earth.  Mademoiselle  -de  Vertus  is  wearing  out  the  re- 
mains of  a  miserable  life  there,  in  the  most  excruciating  pain, 
but  with  inconceivable  resignation.  The  very  meanest  of  the 
inhabitants  have  a  virtuous  serenity  in  their  countenances,  and 
a  modesty  of  deportment  to  be  met  with  in  no  other  place.  I 
own  to  you  I  was  delighted  to  see  this  divine  solitude  of  which 
I  have  heard  so  much ;  it  is  a  frightful  valley,  calculated  to 
inspire  a  taste  for  religion. 

Hints  about  Children. — A  word  about  the  little  Marquis 
(de  Grignan)  ;*  I  beseech  you  not  to  be  under  any  apprehen- 
sion about  his  timidity.  Remember  that  the  charming  Mar- 
quis (de  la  Chatre)  used  to  tremble  and  quake  till  he  was 
twelve  years  old,  and  that  La  Troche,  when  young,  was  so 
terrified  at  the  least  thing,  that  his  mother  could  not  bear  to 
have  him  in  her  sight ;  and  yet  you  see  how  much  they  have 
distinguished  themselves  since  :  let  that  comfort  you.  Fears 
of  this  kind  are  the  mere  effect  of  childhood,  and  when  child- 
hood is  surmounted,  instead  of  being  afraid  of  raw-head  and 
bloody  bones,  these  personages  are  afraid  only  of  being  thought 
fearful,  are  afraid  of  being  less  esteemed  than  others,  and  that 
is  sufficient  to  make  them  brave,  and  kill  their  thousands  and 
ten  thousands :  let  me  then  again  beg  you  to  make  yourself 
easy  on  that  score.  As  to  his  shape,  it  is  another  matter :  I 
would  advise  you  to  put  him  into  breeches,  and  then  you  will 
see  better  how  his  legs  go  on,  and  whether  they  are  straight- 
ened as  he  grows.  You  must  let  him  have  room  to  stir  him- 
self, and  unfold  his  little  limbs:  but  you  must  put. on  him  a 
pretty  tight  vest,  which  will  confine  his  shape.  I  shall  receive 
some  further  instructions,  however,  on  this  subject,  which  I 
will  not  fail  to  transmit  to  you.     It  would  be  a  fine  thing  in- 

*  Grandson  of  Madame  de  Sevigne. 


deed  to  see  a  Grignan  with  a  bad  shape !  Do  you  not  remem- 
ber how  pretty  he  was  in  his  swaddling-clothes  ?  I  am  no 
less  uneasy  than  yourself  at  this  alteration. 

^Reflections. — What  you  say  of  death  taking  the  liberty  of 
interrupting  fortune  is  admirable ;  this  ought  to  comfort  those 
who  are  not  in  the  number  of  her  favorites,  and  to  diminish 
the  bitterness  of  death.  You  ask  me  if  I  am  religious  :  alas ! 
my  dear,  I  am  not  sufficiently  so,  for  which  I  am  very  sorry ; 
but  yet  I  think  I  am  somewhat  detached  from  what  is  called 
the  world.  Age  and  sickness  give  us  leisure  enough  for  serious 
reflection ;  but  what  I  retrench  from  the  rest  of  the  world  I 
bestow  upon  you,  so  that  I  make  but  small  advances  in  the 
path  of  detachment ;  and  you  know  that  the  law  of  the  game 
is  to  begin  by  effacing  a  little  what  is  dearest  to  our  heart. 

Versailles  in  1676. — I  was  on  Saturday  at  Versailles  with 
the  Villars.  You  know  the  ceremony  of  attending  on  the 
queen  at  her  toilet,  at  mass,  and  at  dinner ;  but  there  is  now 
no  necessity  of  being  stifled  with  the  heat,  and  with  the  crowd, 
while  their  majesties  dine :  for  at  three,  the  king  and  queen, 
monsieur,  madame,  mademoiselle,  the  princes  and  princesses, 
Madame  de  Montespan,  and  her  train,  the  courtiers,  and  the 
ladies,  in  short  the  whole  court  of  France,  retire  to  that  fine 
apartment  of  the  king's  which  you  know.  It  is  furnished  with 
the  utmost  magnificence ;  they  know  not  there  what  it  is  to 
be  incommoded  with  heat ;  and  pass  from  one  room  to  another 
without  being  crowded.  A  game  at  reversis  gives  a  form  to 
the  assembly,  and  fixes  every  thing.  The  king  and  Madame 
de  Montespan  keep  a  bank  together.  Monsieur,  the  queen, 
and  Madame  de  Soubize,  Dangeau,  and  Langle,  with  their 
companies,  are  at  different  tables.  The  baize  is  covered  with 
a  thousand  louis-d'ors ;  they  use  no  other  counters.  I  saw 
Dangeau  play,  and  could  not  help  observing  how  awkward 
others  appeared  in  comparison  of  him.  He  thinks  of  nothing 
but  his  game,  though  he  scarcely  seems  to  attend  to  it ;  he 


gains  where  others  lose;  takes  every  advantage;  nothing 
escapes  or  distracts  him ;  in  short,  his  good  conduct  defies 
fortune.  Thus,  two  hundred  thousand  francs  in  ten  days,  a 
hundred  thousand  crowns  in  a  month,  are  added  to  his 
account-book  under  the  head  received.  He  had  the  com- 
plaisance to  say  I  was  a  partner  with  him  in  the  bank,  by 
which  means  I  was  seated  very  commodious! y.  I  bowed  to 
the  king  in  the  way  you  taught  me ;  and  he  returned  my 
salutation,  as  if  I  had  been  young  and  handsome.  The  queen 
talked  to  me  of  my  illness,  nor  did  she  leave  you  unmentioned. 
The  duke  paid  me  a  thousand  of  those  unmeaning  compli- 
ments which  he  bestows  so  liberally.  M.  de  Lorges  attacked 
me  in  the  name  of  the  Chevalier  de  Grignan ;  and,  in  short, 
tutti  quanti  (all  the  rest).  You  know  what  it  is  to  receive  a 
word  from  every  one  who  passes  you.  Madame  de  Montes- 
pan  talked  to  me  of  Bourbon,  and  desired  me  to  tell  her  how 
I  liked  Vichi,  and  whether  I  had  found  any  benefit  there. 
She  said  that  Bourbon,  instead  of  removing  the  pain  from  her 
knee,  had  given  her  the  tooth-ache.  Her  beauty  and  her 
shape  are  really  surprising ;  she  is  much  thinner  than  she 
was ;  and  yet  neither  her  eyes,  her  lips,  nor  her  complexion 
are  injured.  She  was  dressed  in  French  point ;  her  hair  in  a 
thousand  curls,  and  the  two  from  her  temples  very  low  upon 
her  cheeks ;  she  wore  on  her  head  black  ribbons,  intermixed 
with  the  pearls  which  once  belonged  to  the  Marechale  de 
l'Hopital,  diamond  pendants  of  great  value,  and  three  or  four 
bodkins.  In  a  word,  she  appeared  a  triumphant  beauty,  cal- 
culated to  raise  the  admiration  of  all  the  foreign  embassadors. 
She  has  heard  that  complaints  were  made  of  her